Abstract chapter 2 Introductory text of the Bibliography of Happiness


The word ‘happiness’ is used in various ways. In the widest sense it is an umbrella term for all that is good. In this meaning it is often used interchangeably with terms like ‘wellbeing’ or ‘quality of life’ and denotes both individual and social welfare. This use of words suggests that there is one ultimate good and disguises differences in interest between individuals and society.

Here the word happiness is used in the more limited sense of the subjective enjoyment of one’s own life as a whole. A formal definition of happiness is presented in section 2/1. Within this concept of overall happiness, two ‘components’ of happiness: hedonic level and contentment (section 2/2).
Next this concept of happiness is distinguished from related notions, first from other qualities of life (section2/3/.1) and then from other concepts of satisfaction (section 2/3).

Having established what is meant by ‘happiness we go on to note the variable aspects of this concept, that is, dimensions that are not included in the concept as such (section 2/4). The concept is restricted to present life (section 2/5). Finally section 2/6 summarizes the reasons to define happiness in this way.

Full text of chapter 2

Back to contents of introductory text to the Bibliography of Happiness