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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
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.
As suggested by Ryan and Deci (2001), well-being is a multidimensional construct which contains two related, but empirically distinct, aspects: hedonism and eudaimonism. To capture its multidimensional nature, we operationalized well-being as the second-order latent variable with hedonic and eudaimonic well-being serving as two first-order latent variables.
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. Breaking this group into two subgroups, we can see that those in the first subgroup (2A) think that Plato fails to provide a satisfactory basis for philosophers to rule.
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.
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).
Classical philosophical discourse on human flourishing is commonly framed under the rubric of virtue ethics, eudaimonism, or eudaimonistic ethics.
(6) The view called eudaimonism originates in Plato and Aristotle's writings.
He rejects as inadequate the definitions provided by eudaimonism and Augustinian theology.
Tolkien insists that fairy stories have the capacity to lead to the "imaginative satisfaction" of profound human desires, of particular importance being "the Consolation of the Happy Ending." 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.