Perfect Happiness (pages 89-116)

Daniel Rönnedal

ABSTRACT: In this paper, I will develop a new theory of the nature of happiness, or “perfect happiness.” I will examine what perfect happiness is and what it is not and I will try to answer some fundamental questions about this property. According to the theory, which I shall call “the fulfillment theory,” perfect happiness is perfect fulfillment. The analysis of happiness in this paper is a development of the old idea that happiness is getting what you want and can be classified as a kind of desire-satisfaction theory. According to the fulfillment theory of happiness, it is necessarily the case that an individual x is perfectly happy if and only if all x’s wants are fulfilled. The interpretation of this basic definition is important, since the consequences of the particular version defended in this essay are radically different from the consequences of many other popular theories of happiness. The fulfillment theory is also quite different from most other desire-satisfaction theories of happiness. We will see that it has many interesting consequences and that it can be defended against some potentially serious counterarguments. The upshot is that the analysis of (perfect) happiness developed in the present paper is quite attractive.

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