What Makes an Individual Happy?

1544 Words7 Pages
R. El Hosseiny

Philosophical thinking

Dr. Jason Blum

8/12/2013

Philosophical thinking; the connection between virtue and happiness

Introduction

What makes individual happy? Sociologists argue that the quality of social support; the social capital in family and friends is responsible, economists claim that a high income and consumption is the only reason. On the other hand, psychologists argue emphasizing on the essence of mental health, personality and personal state of mind, various philosophers have argued that virtue is critical to happiness. In analyzing the concept of eudaimonia, Flanagan argues that the flourishing happiness or the flourishing feeling which leads to happiness is often constituted by wisdom and virtue; more so the typical virtues in which compassion is highest. It is only in virtue and wisdom that individuals realize eudaimonia as given by Buddha.

Virtue may be defined under two distinct conceptions. According to the Aristotelian definition, moral virtue is the habitual disposition which is coupled with choice, lying in a mean comparative to individuals, a mean which is determined by reason, through which an individual of practical reason would conclude it. However, the Buddhist view argues that the Aristotle list of virtue is a piecemeal; the Buddhist view holds that the virtue of lovingkindness and compassion which lack in the case of Aristotle moral virtues must exist. The Buddhist image of happiness is defined on most occasions in terms of compassion and (Karuna) and wisdom(Prajuna); with Karuna being often substituted for virtue, Sila, and is conceptualized as the primary virtue as well as the closest relative to Metta (lovingkindness), with the two constituting the heart of Sila (virtue).

A...

... middle of paper ...

.... On the other hand, virtue and compassion can provide serenity, peace of mind and a much longer-lasting happiness. Flanagan says that to achieve the flourishing happiness or the flourishing feeling which leads to true happiness we only need wisdom and virtue; more so the typical virtues in which compassion is highest. I see that these two characteristics are necessary but not sufficient, which means that you cannot have true happiness without these two, but you need other things like food, shelter, etc… (money), but definitely there is a huge connection that unites them.

Work cited

Flanagan, Owen J. The Bodhisattva's Brain: Buddhism Naturalized. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2011. Internet resource.

Knight, John, and Ramani Gunatilaka. "Great expectations? The subjective well-being of rural– urban migrants in China." World Development 38.1 (2010): 113-124.

More about What Makes an Individual Happy?

Open Document