Proceedings of the XXII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 49, 2008

Philosophy of Values

Andrew Sneddon
Pages 77-81

Locating Happiness

Philosophers have long studied the nature of happiness and, as a consequence, have made recommendations about how to achieve it. The present paper argues that perhaps this has been a mistake. Empirical studies of happiness have been yielding important results in recent years, the implication of which is that happiness is more complex than philosophers have suspected. The crucial point is this: although very abstract and very individual-specific things can be said about happiness, there is nothing substantial that can be said about happiness in general. For practical yet general recommendations about how to achieve happiness, such an intermediate level of generality is necessary. Since it is not available, no general recommendations about happiness are possible.