Happiness and Goodness

Philosophical Reflections on Living Well

Steven M. Cahn and Christine Vitrano. Foreword by Robert B. Talisse

Columbia University Press

Happiness and Goodness

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Pub Date: June 2015

ISBN: 9780231172417

136 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $19.95£14.95

Pub Date: June 2015

ISBN: 9780231172400

136 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $60.00£49.95

Pub Date: June 2015

ISBN: 9780231539364

136 Pages

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List Price: $18.99£14.95

Happiness and Goodness

Philosophical Reflections on Living Well

Steven M. Cahn and Christine Vitrano. Foreword by Robert B. Talisse

Columbia University Press

How should we evaluate the success of each person's life? Countering the prevalent philosophical perspective on the subject, Steven M. Cahn and Christine Vitrano defend the view that our well-being is dependent not on particular activities, accomplishments, or awards but on finding personal satisfaction while treating others with due concern.

The authors suggest that moral behavior is not necessary for happiness and does not ensure it. Yet they also argue that morality and happiness are needed for living well, and together suffice to achieve that goal. Cahn and Vitrano link their position to elements within both the Hellenistic and Hebraic traditions, in particular the views of Epicurus and lessons found in the Book of Ecclesiastes. Written in an accessible style and illustrated with incisive vignettes drawn from history, literature, films, and everyday life, Happiness and Goodness is a compelling work of philosophy for anyone who seeks to understand the nature of a good life.
Happiness and Goodness reminds me of a Socratic dialogue. The absence of jargon and use of realistic examples in this book make philosophy accessible to all interested in improving their lives. Andrea Tschemplik, American University
Happiness and Goodness is a phenomenal book that offers innovative and penetrating insights into the most fundamental questions of human concern, such as happiness, love, morality, death, and God. Drawing from a vast array of philosophical, religious, and literary sources, Steven M. Cahn and Christine Vitrano brilliantly challenge long-standing assumptions about what it means to live a satisfying and successful life. They also have an uncanny ability to transmit their ideas in a vivid and enjoyable fashion by providing colorful vignettes and everyday life stories. I, for one, could not put the book down. Dov Weiss, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
This crisply written and incisive book draws on ancient thought and contemporary examples to develop a compelling account of living well. David Shatz, Yeshiva University
I can't remember the last time I read a book about ethics that was so fascinating. Ed Lake, Deputy Editor, Aeon
Foreword, by Robert B. Talisse
Preface
1. Introduction
2. Wasted Lives?
3. Projects of Worth?
4. Flourishing?
5. Things That Matter?
6. Morality and Happiness
7. Morality and Unhappiness
8. Character
9. Appearing Moral
10. God and Morality
11. Heaven and Hell
12. Moral Judgments
13. Moral Standards
14. Choosing the Experience Machine
15. Happiness and Ignorance
16. Assessing Achievement
17. Pleasures and Pains
18. Fear of the Divine
19. Fear of Unfulfilled Desires
20. Fear of Death
21. Futility
22. Living Well
23. Satisfaction
24. Concluding Questions
Notes
Index
About the Authors

About the Author

Steven M. Cahn is professor of philosophy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He has written or edited some fifty books, including Fate, Logic, and Time; God, Reason, and Religion; Saints and Scamps: Ethics in Academia; and From Student to Scholar: A Candid Guide to Becoming a Professor.

Christine Vitrano is associate professor of philosophy at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. She is the author of The Nature and Value of Happiness and coeditor, with Steven M. Cahn, of Happiness: Classic and Contemporary Readings in Philosophy.