Problems with Happiness

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Florida Southern College
This project is primarily concerned with the problem of human unhappiness. I explore the philosophical history of happiness and its relationship to other concepts such as freedom, reason, and human nature in general. By putting various optimistic and pessimistic approaches into conversation with each other, I illustrate a complicated and rich dialogue about some of the biggest questions philosophy, namely: is it actually possible to be a happy person, and if so, how? If happiness is impossible, is life worth living? While I will be arguing more from a pessimistic perspective, I do not reject the entire non-pessimistic canon, and there are many pessimistic conclusions that I do not agree with. Rather, I will suggest a different approach to the problem of happiness. By clarifying the limitations of the human condition, namely the expected and actual nature of freedom and reason, I suggest a possibility of happiness that is not based in the illusion of optimism or the denial of the fundamental aspects of human nature.
Honors thesis Spring 2019
Happiness, Optimism, Pessimism, Liberty, Reason