The advice models of happiness: a response to Feldman

International Journal of Wellbeing 9 (2):8-13 (2019)
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In his critical notice entitled ‘An Improved Whole Life Satisfaction Theory of Happiness?’ focusing on my article that was previously published in this journal, Fred Feldman raises an important objection to a suggestion I made about how to best formulate the whole life satisfaction theories of happiness. According to my proposal, happiness is a matter of whether an idealised version of you would judge that your actual life corresponds to the life-plan, which he or she has constructed for you on the basis of your cares and concerns. Feldman argues that either the idealised version will include in the relevant life-plan only actions that are possible for you to do or he or she will also include actions and outcomes that are not available for you in the real world. He then uses examples to argue that both of these alternatives have implausible consequences. In response to this objection, I argue that what it is included in the relevant life-plan depends on what you most fundamentally desire and that this constraint is enough to deal with Feldman’s new cases.

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Jussi Suikkanen
University of Birmingham


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