WHY WE SHOULD NOT BE UNHAPPY ABOUT HAPPINESS VIA ARISTOTLE
The functionalist account of Aristotle’s notion of eudaimonia
By Irene Caesar
A dissertation submitted to the Graduate Faculty in Philosophy
The purpose of my dissertation is to resolve the ongoing argument in the modern Anglo-American interpretation of Aristotelianism regarding the principle of eudaimonia (εủδαιμονία; happiness). Exlusivist interpretation argues that the principle of eudaimonia is one dominant or exclusive telos (end) consisting of the aretê (excellence or virtue) of theōria (contemplation of the divine). Inclusivist interpretation argues that the principle of eudaimonia is an inclusive or compounded telos containing this and all other Aristotelian virtues in a comprehensive or mixed life ruled by phronēsis (practical wisdom). I offer the functionalist interpretation that goes beyond the dichotomy of inclusivism and exclusivism in arguing that (1) contrary to exclusivism, theōria is functionally linked with all the other activities of the soul throughout the entire Aristotelian corpus and that (2) contrary to inclusivism, theōria is functionally superior to each and all of the other activities of the soul, making a compound model irrelevant in its incapacity to express the hierarchy within the soul.
In 2010, the dissertation was published as a book “Why we should not be unhappy about happiness via Aristotle” (The functionalist account of Aristotle’s notion of eudaimonia) by Lambert Academic Publishing, Germany, ISBN 3838344995 (978-3838344997)
© 2009 IRENE CAESAR All Rights Reserved