An old idea about "happiness"

by Paul Burmeister

Happiness has ancient pedigree as a virtue, and Aristotle's framework for happiness deserves frequent review. He was clear about happiness being an end and not a means, about happiness being a gift and not an achievement, and about happiness becoming and not securing. Aristotle knew happiness is elusive, and he resisted the temptation to simply equate it with experiences of pleasure or good fortune. What Stanley Hauerwas is helpful to point out (among other things) is that Aristotle warned against the extremes on both sides of any virtue: placing too much and too little emphasis on happiness is to be avoided by the virtuous person.