- Elgar original reference
Edited by Luigino Bruni and Pier Luigi Porta
Chapter 12: The Life Plan View of Happiness and the Paradoxes of Happiness
Mark Chekola 1. Introduction ‘The Paradoxes of Happiness in Economics’, the topic of the conference held in Milan, 21–23 March 2003, arises because empirical studies of happiness and well-being have produced some results that are counterintuitive and paradoxical. For instance, after achieving a basic level of income, increases in income do not seem to lead to greater happiness; and while people see work as a burden, work seems important to happiness and unemployment detrimental to happiness. In order to deal with these paradoxes I believe it is important to be clear about the concept of happiness. As a philosopher, I ﬁnd some of the references to happiness in discussing these issues disappointingly unclear, limited and barren. In the end what we are concerned with here is our lives. We need a concept of happiness that is rich and full enough to capture what it is that we really seek when we want our lives to be happy. In addition, we need to focus on the nature of happiness (what it is) rather than the conditions of happiness (its causes, conditions and determinants). Social scientists are concerned to be as objective as possible and, in seeking data to use in their studies, want the data to be acceptable, valid and objective, and to be relatively easily collected. Those concerns are understandable. But we must be careful not to let them lead to employing an unacceptably shallow or simple concept of happiness or well-being. I believe the tools of philosophy can...
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