Skip to content
Guest Thinkers

Happiness Is Not a Feeling

“Happiness, like knowledge, and unlike belief and pleasure, is not a state of mind.” University of Texas at Austin philosophy professor David Sosa on the requirements for felicity.

“One especially apt way of thinking about happiness—a way that’s found already in the thought of Aristotle—is in terms of ‘flourishing.’ Take someone really flourishing in their new career, or really flourishing now that they’re off in college. The sense of the expression is not just that they feel good, but that they’re, for example, accomplishing some things and taking appropriate pleasure in those accomplishments. If they were simply sitting at home playing video games all day, even if this seemed to give them a great deal of pleasure, and even if they were not frustrated, we wouldn’t say they were flourishing. Such a life could not in the long term constitute a happy life. To live a happy life is to flourish.”


Up Next