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date: 29 March 2017

Abstract and Keywords

Before we can investigate how happiness is caused and what effects it has, we need to know what it is, and philosophical methods make an important contribution to this investigation of the nature of happiness. Philosophy helps to answer the question “What is happiness such that it is a good thing to aim at in one’s own life or to try to procure for others?” This is what philosophers call a normative question, that is, a question about what ought to be rather than what is, about values rather than facts. In this chapter, the author explains the general methodology and specific methods that some philosophers use in order to answer fundamental normative questions about happiness, well-being, and the goals of life. 

Keywords: Aristotle, eudaimonia, experience machine, moral theory, normative theory, philosophical method, reflective equilibrium, thought experiment, intuition pump, counter-example, literary example

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