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in ancient times the interpretation of life and later, in ethics, the interpretation and theoretical justification of morality according to the principle that happiness, or “bliss,” is man’s highest goal.

A premise of ancient eudaemonism was the Socratic idea of inner freedom, achievable through the individual’s self-knowledge and nondependence on the outside world. Although eudaemonism and hedonism arose at the same time and were closely interrelated, they are in a certain sense opposites. Happiness is not simply Aristotle’s protracted and harmonious pleasure but rather the result of overcoming the desire for sensual gratification—a result achieved through practice, self-restraint, asceticism, renunciation of one’s attachment to the outside world and its blessings, and consequent freedom from external necessity and from the vicissitudes of life; happiness is judicious reasoning, identical to true virtue.

For the Cynics, the governing principle of life is the struggle against the passions that enslave mankind. The Cyrenaics’ doctrine is essentially an elaboration of the same motifs—namely, that happiness depends not on external circumstances but on the right attitude toward them. The Stoics define man’s inner freedom as the joyful submission to fate, inasmuch as what has meaning for man depends only on man’s attitude toward external circumstances and not on life’s vicissitudes.

In the modern age this ideal of inner freedom has been developed by many philosophers; B. Spinoza, in particular, showed exceptional acuity in his antithesis between rational consciousness and sensual passions and in his purely intellectual conception of bliss—amor del intellectualis, or “intellectual love of god.”

The French materialists, such as C. A. Helvétius and P. Holbach, gave the concept of happiness a frankly hedonist cast; naturalist motifs became predominant in eudaemonism, as can be seen particularly in English utilitarianism.


References in periodicals archive ?
This move calls into question the doctrine of eudaimonism.
It is also common because it is a characteristic feature of all Bantu-speaking people and it does not need to be established and authenticated by one person, as is the case with Aristotelian eudaimonism, Kantian deontology, Platonic Justice and Metzian basic norm.
Following Irwin, I want to say Socrates holds eudaimonism, which is a self-interested theory, but it doesn't entail egoism.
Aristotle holds eudaimonism, whereas consequentialists would reject it; and, for Aristotle, the foundational justification for virtuous acts is their contribution to the flourishing of the agent, whereas for universalist consequentialists, their justification depends on their consequences for all sentient beings.
The second main group of interpretations does not diminish the importance of compulsion but rather highlights the compulsion necessary to encourage philosophers to rule Kallipolis, though often at the expense of Plato's eudaimonism.
Alternatively, eudaimonism emerges as a more comprehensive and diversified perspective, in that it focuses on positive psychological functioning and development of eudaimonia, which is an Aristotelian concept sustained by existential and humanistic values, intended to express the capacity for human self-realization, development and flourishing (Keyes, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005; Ryan & Deci, 2001; Ryff, 1989a, 1989b, 1995; Ryff & Keyes, 1995; Ryff & Singer, 1998; Waterman, 1993).
First, they confirm the universality of notions of character, and the centrality of character to the flourishing life, held by eudaimonism.
He rejects as inadequate the definitions provided by eudaimonism and Augustinian theology.
The third claim, welfare eudaimonism, maintains that well-being is teleological, consisting in the fulfillment of our natures.
He termed this "eucatastrophe" or "the good catastrophe, the sudden joyous 'turn"' wherein he claims that at a religious level there may occur "a far off gleam or echo of evangehun in the real world," by which he seems to mean that comedy echoes the deeper eudaimonism underpinning the created order.
10) "The law of punishment is a categorical imperative, and woe to him who crawls through the windings of eudaimonism in order to discover something that releases the criminal from punishment or even reduces its amount by the advantage it promises," Kant, The Metaphysics of Morals, 105.
And where it works artistically, and is not simply a matter of convention, it seems to be related to eudaimonism, the moral philosophy positing that happiness has a solid ethical base, or some exposition of the good life, which is a major factor in the successful achievement of eucatastrophe.