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A Brief History of Happiness by Nicholas White


A Brief History of Happiness by Nicholas White

In this brief history, philosopher Nicholas White reviews 2,500 years of philosophical thought about happiness. * Addresses key questions such as: What is happiness? Should happiness play such a dominant role in our lives? How can we deal with conflicts between the various things that make us happy? * Considers the ways in which major thinkers from antiquity to the modern day have treated happiness: from Plato's notion of the harmony of the soul, through to Nietzsche's championing of conflict over harmony. * Relates questions about happiness to ethics and to practical philosophy.


White takes his readers on [a] journey, aiming to reach an appreciation of the nature of happiness. He splendidly suceeds in making the journey as fascinating as it deserves to be. White has produced a unique, thoughtful work that provides a meaningful excursion through our conceptions of happiness. Readers will be left with a gift of greater insight into both the triumphs and limitations of our efforts to understand ourselves. PsycCRITIQUES

A valuable aid to the flourishing literature on happiness and its history. Ethics

Nicholas White offers a brisk, informative, and readable account of various attempts, throughout the Western philosophical tradition, to articulate the meaning of that elusive term 'happiness.
Review of Metaphysics

About the Author

Nicholas P. White is Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Irvine.

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Book Info

Publication date

21st December 2005


Nicholas White

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Blackwell Publishing Ltd an imprint of John Wiley and Sons Ltd


208 pages





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