Chapter Twelve

1. Now that you have finished reading the book, what is your considered view of happiness? Is it simply a mental state, or does it include more than your own subjective experience of life? If it is a mental state, is it a feeling, an emotion, an attitude, a satisfied desire, a judgment of satisfaction with one’s life, or some combination of the above? Do you think that happiness refers to fulfilling one’s positive human potential, and if so, what essential elements would this consist in?

2. Do you think you can be wrong about your happiness? If not, why not? And if so, in what ways?

3. Is happiness the same for everyone, or do we each decide for ourselves what is a happy life? Explain your reasons for thinking as you do.

4. Do you think your happiness is completely under your control, only partially under your control, or not under your control at all? Explain the reasons behind your answer.

5. How do you think happiness relates to well-being?

6. What value does happiness have to your life? How does it fit in with the rest of what you value? Do you think that other values take priority over your happiness? Be specific.

7. What is the relationship between the happy life and the moral life? Are they the same? Is the moral life an essential element in the happy life? Are the happy life and the moral not at all connected? Explain the reasons behind your answers.

8. Do you think it is fair and just to set public policy according to the view of happiness you accept? Would you want others to be able to set policy and laws that you would have to follow according to their view of happiness? Why or why not?

9. Having settled on a careful view of what happiness is, what are some strategies, both short- and long-term, that you can begin to employ in order to live more happily? In answering this question, be sure to reference some of the science of happiness discussed throughout the book that can inform your plans and activities.

10. In what ways will you now use this newfound knowledge to alter the ways you live and behave? Be specific.