Our Authority over Our Own Happiness
Writers on happiness often discuss a question about our authority with respect to our own happiness. Some maintain that we do have authority; others deny it. This is a vexed topic, in part because talk of ‘authority’ is ambiguous. To say that a person “has authority” over his own happiness might be to say that he has knowledge about his own happiness. In another sense it might be to say that she has some sort of control over how happy she will be. Section 11.1 contains discussion of several different principles about epistemic authority. Arguments are presented to show that all these principles about epistemic authority are false. Section 11.2 contains discussion of several different principles about controlling authority. Each of these principles is false. A strategy for increasing one's own level of happiness is proposed. If Attitudinal Hedonic Eudaimonism is true, then there is a procedure that we can use to make ourselves happier.
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