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Uncarved and Unconcerned: Zhuangzian Contentment in an Age of Happiness

  • Joel D. DanielsEmail author
Article

Abstract

Through the formation of positive psychology, the study of happiness has moved into the scientific domain. Positive psychology’s assertion is that with the proper adjustments, everyone can achieve happiness. The problem, however, is that “happiness” is never defined, causing scientific testing to construct new parameters for each study, inevitably altering the object being examined (“happiness”). Rather than pursuing amorphous happiness, I argue that the Zhuangzi 莊子 provides a more adequate and responsible process or method for living well. After exploring Aristotle’s position on happiness, I investigate the terminological and methodological issues with the scientific study of happiness. For an alternative, I propose Zhuangzian contentment that reorients individuals toward dynamic existence rather than false notions of control, which the scientific method suggests is possible.

Keywords

Positive psychology Happiness Zhuangzi 莊子 Contentment 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Theology and Religious StudiesGeorgetown UniversityWashingtonUSA

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