Two Conception of Happiness In the article Two Conception of Happiness, Richard Kraut intends to discuss Aristotelian notion of happiness by distinguishing the difference concerning feeling happy and leading a happy life. The act of an individual having certain feelings explores their internal identity and the only person that can really understand his true feelings is that person himself. The conceptions of feeling happy and leading a happy life can be easily mistaken because they both deal with an individual s state of happiness. Feeling happy represents an individual s recognition of reality as in fact being an illusion.
While leading a happy life signifies the high standards a person entails in order to be happy. There are some differences in Aristotle s conception of happiness when compared with a subjective theory of happiness. It is granted that Aristotelian conception of happiness and the subjective theory of happiness say that everyone has certain standards to fulfill throughout their lives and as a result, these individuals attempt to reach those goals in order to live a happy life. However, in looking at it from a different perspective, the two theories disagree as to which value is to be used in assessing an one s life.
Aristotle thinks that everyone in the world lives for a certain goal and that person has a choice if they want to follow these goals or not, which surely connects with an individual s happiness. Aristotle s conception is not Subjective, rather it is objective because he claims that people are not happy until they live life to the fullest. The subjectivisms oppose to Aristotle s conception of happiness by stating that people do not have to live the best life in order to be happy even if an individual reaches his standards that he inflicts on his life. Aristotle argues that just because a person has met his values in life does not mean that they are actually leading a happy life. According to Aristotle, an individual must seek justice, courage, and self control before they can reach eudaimonia which it simply means living the best life an individual is capable of. In the article, Kraut explain what Extreme Subjectivism means by stating that one can still feel and lead a happy life even if they are not sure of the reality in their lives.
What people believe to be true is a state of an individual s happiness, even though it may be false. Happiness does not require that people act a certain way to please others. The Extreme Subjectivism states that happiness is a psychological state and nothing more (227) which ultimately says that even if reality is an illusion the person involved in the scenario cannot deny his feeling of being happy at the time. To better understand the Extreme Subjectivism Kraut came up with a hypothetical example of a young boy s friendship. The young boy states that his idea of happiness is being respected by his friends and that he would hate to have friends who deceit him. Suppose that his friends actually did deceit him, but the young boy is unaware of these actions and still thinks that he is leading a happy life because his standards are met.
In reality everyone knows that having false friends would certainly make them unhappy, just as the young boy would be if he was aware of the fact that his friends are false. The Extreme Subjectivism argues that the young boy still can feel happy even if he was aware of his false friends. A person cannot deny their state of happiness even if the reality was an illusion and the standards are not met. Since happiness is psychological, the young boy who was deceived cannot deny his happiness because he was still happy even before the deceit took place.
Kraut does not agree with the Extreme Subjectivism that the person who was deceived is leading a happy life. In the case of the young boy, an Extreme Subjectivism s would say that he had set the standards which states that he did not want to have false friends, because that notion would make him happy. The Extreme Subjectivism says that the deceived boy felt happy not knowing that he is living an illusion, but he is still not leading a happy life because he is being deceived.