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date: 26 September 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores Kongzi’s (or “Confucius”) (551–479 BCE) and Zhuangzi’s (c.399–295 BCE) conceptions of the ideal life—what early Greek thinkers called eudaimonia. The author follows convention by talking about eudaimonia in terms of “happiness” but mean by “happiness” a sense that one’s life is going well, as it should, and in accord with Heavenly patterns and processes. While Kongzi and Zhuangzi both maintain that happiness fulfills an objective description of the good life, they also believe that those who attain this ideal experience a special and valuable sense of satisfaction, fulfillment, and joy as part of the good life they lead. Many of the things they say about happiness focus on the folly, harm, and misery common misconceptions of happiness produce and the importance, for both self and others, of having the right view in this regard. Both also present positive, alternative accounts of happiness.

Keywords: Confucianism, Daoism, happiness, joy, eudaimonia, living well, flourishing, Dao, spontaneity, Heaven, wine

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