ISBN : 9780198746980
How should I live? How can I be happy? What is happiness, really? These are perennial questions, which in recent times have become the object of diverse kinds of academic research. Ancient philosophers placed happiness at the centre of their thought, and we can trace the topic through nearly a millennium. While the centrality of the notion of happiness in ancient ethics is well known, this book is unique in that it focuses directly on this notion, as it appears in the ancient texts. Fourteen papers by an international team of scholars map the various approaches and conceptions found from the Pre-Socratics through Plato, Aristotle, Hellenistic Philosophy, to the Neo-Platonists and Augustine in late antiquity. While not promising a formula that can guarantee a greater share in happiness to the reader, the book addresses questions raised by ancient thinkers that are still of deep concern to many people today: Do I have to be a morally good person in order to be happy? Are there purely external criteria for happiness such as success according to received social norms or is happiness merely a matter of an internal state of the person? How is happiness related to the stages of life and generally to time? In this book the reader will find an informed discussion of these and many other questions relating to happiness.
1. On Happiness and Godlikeness before Socrates
2. Plato's Defence of Justice: the Wrong Kind of Reason?
3. Wanting to do what is just in the Gorgias
4. Eudaimonia, human nature, and normativity: Reflections on Aristotle's project in Nicomachean Ethics Book I
5. Aristotle on happiness and old age
6. Aristotle on Happiness and Long Life
7. Why is Aristotle's vicious person miserable?
8. Epicurus on Pleasure, Desire and Friendship
9. How feasible is the Stoic conception of eudaimonia?
10. The Pyrrhonian Idea of a Good Life
11. Plotinus' way of defining 'eudaimonia' in Ennead I 4  1-3
12. On happiness and time
13. Why Do We Need Other People to Be Happy? Happiness and Concern for Others in Aspasius and Porphyry
13. Happiness in this Life? Augustine on the principle that virtue is self-sufficient for happiness