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What Is This Thing Called Happiness?$
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Fred Feldman

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199571178

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199571178.001.0001

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Disgusting Happiness

Disgusting Happiness

Chapter:
(p.203) CHAPTER 10 Disgusting Happiness
Source:
What Is This Thing Called Happiness?
Author(s):

Fred Feldman (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199571178.003.0010

An ancient objection to eudaimonism is based on the idea of “disgusting happiness”. Steven Cahn developed an interesting version of this objection based on a fictional character—Judah Rosenthal, from the Woody Allen film Crimes and Misdemeanors. Judah passes all popular tests for happiness but is utterly morally corrupt. His case casts doubt on the naive identification of happiness with welfare. It's not clear that the case is decisive. Nevertheless, a form of eudaimonism that is intended to circumvent this problem can be developed. According to this novel form of the theory, the welfare value of each episode of happiness must be adjusted so as to reflect the extent to which the object of that happiness deserves to be enjoyed. It is left to the interested reader to determine whether the modification is really needed.

Keywords:   Steven Cahn, Woody Allen, Judah Rosenthal, disgusting happiness, eudaimonism, welfare goodness, moral goodness, Richard Taylor, swap test, desert, desert adjusted Attitudinal Hedonic Eudaimonism

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