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Grant number like: FA-53766-08

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Fred A. Feldman
University of Massachusetts, Amherst (Amherst, MA 01003-9242)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2008 – 12/31/2008

A Philosophical Study of the Nature and Value of Happiness

According to an ancient and still popular view, a person's well-being, or quality of life, is ultimately determined by his or her level of happiness. Yet the nature of happiness remains controversial. After a critical discussion of some of the main theories of happiness, I present and defend a form of attitudinal hedonism about happiness. On this view, to be happy at a time is to take pleasure in things at that time. I try to show that if we understand happiness as I propose, it becomes reasonable to suppose that a person's well-being is determined by his or her level of happiness. The view defended here has important implications not only for moral philosophy, but also for the emerging field of hedonic psychology. It also has immediate implications for pressing judgments concerning quality of life.