Happiness Down the Ages: Theory and Philosophy

Chapter

Abstract

This chapter describes the intermittent interest in human happiness throughout time: higher during relative peace and prosperity than in periods of war and turmoil, and it explores the elusive nature of happiness, Eudaimonia, Hedonism, and Stoicism from Greek and Roman civilizations into the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the development of English Utilitarianism, to Moore and Russell in the twentieth century, and the emergence of Positive Psychology in 1998. Academic study and public awareness of happiness has since increased, coincidentally with equality and economic progress, but will this continue—was the period between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the 2008 financial crisis a peak in Western civilization? Will there be a return to the general trend of philosophers and psychologists focusing more on human misery and disorder?

Keywords

Philosophy of happiness Hedonia Eudaimonia(Epicurus) Utilitarianism Positive psychology 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.King’s College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.University of BoltonBoltonUK

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