Eudaemonism

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Eudaemonism

 

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.

T. A. KUZMINA

References in periodicals archive ?
Indeed, the broader canvas of ancient eudaimonism may prove more compelling, and less alien, on such a view (revisionary though it is).
VE's taking value properties (and not value concepts) to be response-dependent is arguably the bedrock doctrinal commitment tying together eudaimonism and virtue ethics into a coherent axiological unity.
Can it really be that Socrates is to be credited with the discovery of egoistic eudaimonism, the idea that I seek my own good before all else?
For a related discussion of this topic, in which he argues that the demands of a certain form of prudence constitute categorical reasons, see Terence Irwin's interesting discussion in "Kant's Criticisms of Eudaimonism," in Aristotle, Kant and the Stoics: Rethinking Happiness anal Duty, ed.
By the Things Themselves": Eudaimonism, Direct Acquaintance, and Illumination in Augustine's De Magistro, MICHAEL MENDELSON
Reason and Emotion contains scholarly discussions of Xenophon's Socrates, Plato and Aristotle on moral psychology, the human good and the nature of justice, eudaimonism in Stoicism, Psidonious on emotion, pleasure and desire in Epicurus, and the Greek philosophers on euthanasia and suicide.
Naturalism and eudaimonism are central to Becker's new Stoic ethics, and his repeated use of the adjective "our" to describe Stoic remedies suggests that he preserves the ancient role of Stoic philosophy as a therapeutic ethics of diminished expectations.
In Tolkien's essay "On Fairy-Stories," eudaimonism is incorporated in a comedic narrative theology: much as happiness is the proper end of the virtuous life, joy is the proper end of the fairy tale, or fantasy.
particularly Aristotle, whose work on eudaimonism provides the
Classical philosophical discourse on human flourishing is commonly framed under the rubric of virtue ethics, eudaimonism, or eudaimonistic ethics.
Rutherford argues that the idea of Felicity in Hobbes's ethics is analogous to ancient eudaimonism.
The purpose of this discussion is to highlight the tension that develops in grafting Aristotle's teleological eudaimonism onto the claims of Christian revelation.