Happy Lives, Good Lives offers a thorough introduction to a variety of perspectives on happiness. Among the questions at issue: Is happiness only a state of mind, or is it something more? Is it the same for everyone? Is it under our control, and if so, to what extent? Can we be mistaken about whether we are happy? What role, if any, does happiness play in living a good life? Is it sometimes morally wrong to pursue happiness? Should governments promote happiness through public policy? Asking and answering these questions is worthwhile not only as an intellectual exercise, but also as a means of gaining practical insight into how best to pursue a happy life.
“Happy Lives, Good Lives: A Philosophical Examination is an outstanding book, brimming with exciting philosophical ideas, always expressed clearly and supported with engaging examples. Mulnix and Mulnix have wisely decided to organize this book by topic, not chronology, which allows them to bring in contemporary scientific findings as they are relevant. As a result, readers get a more complete view of the nature of happiness more quickly. It is an unparalleled strength of Happy Lives, Good Lives that its readers will be ready and able to apply what they have learnt about happiness to their own lives, the lives of others, and possible public policies.” — Dan Weijers, California State University, Sacramento
“Students and teachers alike will benefit from this comprehensive guide to theories of happiness. Mulnix and Mulnix offer engaging, charitable presentations of theories from ancient philosophy to contemporary psychology, illustrated with examples from real life, literature, and film (the Dalai Lama, Stephen Hawking, Robin Hood, and Truman Burbank from the film The Truman Show all make an appearance). They pose questions that challenge our assumptions about happiness, and they weave these diverse views into a compelling narrative that culminates in a thoughtful discussion of the prospects for government policies to promote happiness.” — Valerie Tiberius, University of Minnesota