Chapter One

1. Before getting started, it might be good to take some time to try to clarify for yourself what you take happiness to be. It may be that this will change as you begin to read the views of others and think more carefully about happiness. Still, it is often useful to have a place to start. So, what is happiness to you? What sorts of things cause your happiness? How valuable is happiness to you in your life?

2. What specific sets of questions does the philosophy of happiness set out to answer? How do they differ from the science of happiness?

3. One of the ways in which we can learn about happiness is to consider the lives of others and ask whether we think they are happy. Can you think of an interesting case study—a person whose life is different from your own in some significant ways? Describe the life a bit and then discuss whether you think he or she is happy, and why or why not. What does your answer reveal about what you take happiness to be?

4. Briefly define and explain the three theories of happiness covered in the chapter. What are the similarities and differences between the views?

5. Theories of the good life or well-being specify what is valuable in life. It is an open question how large a role, if any at all, happiness plays in living a good life. Do you think that happiness is the only important value in living a good life? Or are there other things we value as well? If the latter, what are these other values, and do you think they are more or less important than the value of happiness? Explain your reasons for thinking as you do.