The Real Meaning of Happiness: Excellence, Character, and Rectitude

The Real Meaning of Happiness: Excellence, Character, and Rectitude

In a previous post I outlined the errors of what many take to be happiness, namely, creating certain feelings of contentment or satisfaction. I defined this approach as the results-based approach and pointed out that it fails to distinguish between good and bad feelings of satisfaction. In addition, it sets us up on an endless cycle of creating desired emotional outcomes. Feelings change and fade, so it follows that anyone following the sentimental-outcomes strategy will

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HAPPINESS IS PROBABLY NOT WHAT YOU THINK: IT’S NOT ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS

HAPPINESS IS PROBABLY NOT WHAT YOU THINK: IT’S NOT ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS

It is safe to say that modern men and women are obsessed with happiness. Of course this is hardly a unique situation. Every generation and community is concerned with happiness in one way or another, although it is important to remember that not every culture has defined happiness in the same way; not ever culture defines happiness in terms of wealth and satisfaction. Indeed, the great philosopher Aristotle had much to say on the matter.

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EROS, WISDOM, AND POLITICS: PLATO’S CRITIQUE OF DEMOCRACY

EROS, WISDOM, AND POLITICS: PLATO’S CRITIQUE OF DEMOCRACY

Few beliefs are more deeply engrained in the modern mind than the primacy of democracy. Indeed despite the radical divisions and non-stop friction that characterizes modern America, almost everyone agrees on one thing: democracy is always the best form of government. Now to be sure, one can make a case for democratic government and there are important historical reasons for the American commitment to democracy — although it must be recognized that democracy now and

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Discovering Absolute Truth: Plato’s Enduring Legacy

Discovering Absolute Truth: Plato’s Enduring Legacy

When I introduce students to philosophy, I frequently insist that they read significant passages from Plato’s Republic. This is not because I am a Platonist. Indeed, in the end I am sympathetic to Aristotelian and Thomist criticisms of Platonism taken as a whole. Nevertheless, Plato teaches us many invaluable lessons that Christians and all of those interested in right reason would do well to heed. Chief among these lessons is the need for permanent and

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Overcoming Manipulative Rhetoric with Ancient Wisdom

Overcoming Manipulative Rhetoric with Ancient Wisdom

HOW YOU CAN OVERCOME MANIPULATIVE RHETORIC WITH ANCIENT WISDOM? The manipulative use of emotional rhetoric and fallacious reasoning is nothing new. In fact, opposition to the abuse of reason goes back to the very origins of ancient philosophy. It is well known that Socrates is the father of ancient philosophy. What you may not know is that many of Socrates’ early opponents were masters of rhetoric called “sophists.” Literally “sophists” means “wise ones,” but the

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Avoiding the Success Trap

Avoiding the Success Trap

Avoiding the Success Trap: The Radical Alternative of Value-Centered Living Whether we like it or not we receive an endless stream of unsolicited advice or images related to success. Success sells: it has the appearance of competence, mastery, cleverness, and daring. Successful people are “doers,” who are oft described as “killing it.” (One wonders what or who is being killed). Rarely is this sort of success defined, and when it is, one usually hears something vague

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