An Improved Whole Life Satisfaction Theory of Happiness

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Jussi Suikkanen


According to the popular Whole Life Satisfaction theories of happiness, an agent is happy when she judges that her life fulfils her ideal life-plan. Fred Feldman has recently argued that such views cannot accommodate the happiness of spontaneous or preoccupied agents who do not consider how well their lives are going. In this paper, I formulate a new Whole Life Satisfaction theory that is not vulnerable to this objection. My proposal is inspired by Michael Smith’s advice-model of desirability. According to it, an agent is happy when a more informed and rational hypothetical version of her would judge that the agent’s actual life matches the best life-plan for her. I will argue that my new Whole Life Satisfaction theory is a flexible model that canavoid many of the problems besetting previous theories of happiness.

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Author Biography

Jussi Suikkanen, Philosophy department University of Birmingham UK

Jussi Suikkanen is lecturer in philosophy at the University of Birmingham.