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date: 21 November 2017

Abstract and Keywords

In this essay, the author discusses and rejects the possibility that happiness is an illusion, a fruitless goal whose pursuit underscores the desperation of the human condition. He then explains and evaluates happiness understood as a predominantly positive state of mind. He argues that such happiness can sometimes be attained in uninspiring ways that demonstrate the sense in which happiness is overrated. He then sketches contemporary philosophical views of happiness, highlighting their strategies and shortcomings. Finally, he relates the pursuit of happiness to the search for meaning and value. He concludes that leading a robustly meaningful, valuable life merits worthwhile happiness. But worthwhile happiness does not automatically follow from such a life. If we must choose, a robustly meaningful, valuable life is preferable to a merely happy life.

Keywords: Kant, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, last men, valuable lives, happy lives, meaningful lives, virtual reality, overrated, values

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