Philosophy of Well-Being

This section will be an examination of what the world of philosophy has had to say about well-being. Philosophers often use “happiness” with other meanings most frequently to denote a particularly enviable condition of life: a type of well-being. (Cahn & Vitrano, 2008, p. 174). The German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz, for example, thought that, “Wisdom is nothing other than the science of happiness, that is to say it teaches us to attain happiness.” (Trombley, 2016, p. 202).

The notion of ‘the pursuit of happiness’ has been omnipresent in philosophy, and the idea that happiness is central to the point of the human experience goes back to the ancients. In fact, the Greek philosopher Aristippus of Cyrene argued (in the fourth century B.C.) that the goal of life is to maximize the totality of one’s pleasures. (Trombley, 2016, p.198). Indeed, Aristotle himself believed that well-being was the over-arching goal of all human actions. His ideal of the good life, or eudaimonia, is often translated as well-being, and it was this eudaimonia that Aristotle claimed was the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end human existence. (Trombley, 2016, p. 220)

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