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The Psychology of Happiness
A Good Human Life

$31.99 (P)

  • Date Published: September 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521138673

$ 31.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • When Thomas Jefferson placed "the pursuit of happiness" along with life and liberty in The Declaration of Independence he was most likely referring to Aristotle's concept of happiness, or eudaimonia. Eudaimonia is not about good feelings but rather the fulfillment of human potentials. Fulfillment is made possible by virtue; the moderation of desire and emotion by reason. The Psychology of Happiness is the first book to bring together psychological, philosophical, and physiological theory and research in support of Aristotle’s view. It examines the similarity between Aristotle’s concept of virtue and modern cognitive theories of emotion. It discusses the discovery of human potentials, the development of virtue and its neurological basis, the mistaken idea that fulfillment is selfish, and several other issues related to the pursuit of a good human life.

    • Written for a non professional readership presenting Aristotle's ideas and psychological theory in a straightforward, uncomplicated style, free of philosophical and psychological jargon
    • No other previous book reviewed Aristotle's ideas on happiness and supports them with contemporary psychological theory and research
    • Offers a theoretical and empirical analysis of Aristotle's concept of virtue which lies at the heart of his ethical writings
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    Reviews & endorsements

    “In this lucid and well-informed happiness guide, Samuel Franklin bridges the wisdom of Aristotle to the insights of today’s psychological science. Kudos for this compelling vision of the truly good life – the intrinsically rewarding, emotionally intelligent, spiritually fulfilled life.”
    – David G. Myers, Hope College, author of The Pursuit of Happiness

    "The author relates a very wide range of psychological theories and findings to eudaimonic living, citing sources from Albert Ellis to Mihaly Csikzentmihali to Abe Maslow. One laudable feature of this work is its accessibility. Each perspective is presented very crisply with respect to its applications to 'living well.”
    – Richard M. Ryan, University of Rochester

    "This book is a tour-de-force integration of historical and contemporary psychological theory and research in support of an Aristotelian view of what constitutes a good life. The author has a talent for presenting complex philosophical concepts in readily understandable terms and covers a very broad conceptual range including, but not limited to: Sigmund Freud on irrational motivation, William James on emotions, Albert Ellis on irrational self-referential thought, Lawrence Kohlberg on moral reasoning, and Robert Emmons on spirituality and ultimate concerns."
    – Alan S. Waterman, College of New Jersey

    "The book is very readable for the lay population but also will appeal to many psychologists... it will be a good addition to the practitioner’s library... This work may very well provide an important contribution to the practice of psychology as psychologists work to enhance the functioning of individuals and communities. The Psychology of Happiness: A Good Human Life provides an in-depth analysis of Aristotle’s conception of happiness..."
    –Jeffrey A. Daniels, PsycCRITIQUES [March 10, 2010, Vol. 55]

    "an excellent introduction to Aristotle’s philosophy and the ideas in psychology, which are relevant for thinking about the good life... interesting for people who look for a synthesis in the burgeoning field of happiness research, and who do not like the hedonistic variants of happiness..."
    --Ad Bergsma, Journal of Happiness Studies

    "... Do we need another book, namely this one? Yes. Why?... Franklin (California State Univ., Fresno) writes with lapidary beauty; he is both wise and concise... he compares and contrasts some humanistic psychology with positive psychology, saving rather than savaging the former... arguably most important, he approaches happiness from an Aristotelian perspective, arguing that fulfillment of human potential and the pursuit of virtue is a finer goal than pleasure seeking... His voice in these pages is warm, compelling, even convincing. This little book is perfect for seminars, reading groups, and casual readers... Highly recommended..."
    --D. S. Dunn, Moravian College, Choice

    "Samuel Franklin's excellent book, The Psychology of Happiness, is itself a happy melding of high popular press and a mildly academic style... its academic credentials are solid, and its references to the philosophic traditions and more modern scientific studies are thoughtfully presented. Franklin's integration of ancient and modern perspectives is done with clarity and reason, and one would find it quite a challenge to think of how to object to the author's views... a light and enjoyable read, the author's easy-going writing style makes it altogether hedonic to contemplate the deepest and finest ideas humans have had over the centuries about the meaning of life and how to achieve it."
    --Keith Harris, Ph.D., Chief of Research for the Department of Behavioral Health in San Bernardino County, California. , Metapsychology Online Reviews

    "...In The Psychology of Happiness Samuel S. Franklin leaves economics behind, bringing together theory and research from psychology, philosophy, and physiology in support of Aristotle’s classic views on the subject of happiness... With its emphasis on the balance between the spheres of social life and the different components of the actualization process, Franklin’s text gestures toward a fuller, more sociological conception of healthy and positive personal lives..."
    --Robert A. Stebbins, University of Calgary, Contexts Magazine

    "...Franklin’s book offers insight into some of the main tenets of positive psychology and particularly its relation to Aristotle...."
    --Scott Stewart, Cape Breton University, Philosophy in Review,

    ".... The Psychology of Happiness is highly recommended for those readers interested in making connections between Aristotle and the evolution of modern psychological theories, and for those individuals wanting a better understanding of Aristotle’s notions of moral virtues essential to happiness. The author clearly has a passion for and a deep understanding of Aristotelian thought and he elaborates the complexities of Aristotle’s concepts and ideas in an engaging, logical, and fairly understandable way by using examples from everyday life.... Professionals in the fields of social work and ethics will appreciate the thoroughness to which the relevant philosophic and scientific literature is reviewed. Readers too who are interested in moral philosophy, the history of psychology, and psychological views of virtue development will find this work very useful and fascinating to read...."
    --John R. Bowman, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics

    "...The Psychology of Happiness: A Good Human Life(2010) provides a nice summary of an Aristotelian or eudaimonic perspective in a smaller and well-written package."
    -- William C. Compton, Middle TN State University, Journal of Positive Psychology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521138673
    • length: 192 pages
    • dimensions: 231 x 152 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.29kg
    • contains: 7 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. What is happiness
    2. Happiness as fulfillment
    3. Aristotle's ethics
    4. Actualization: psychological views
    5. Knowing thyself
    6. The things we need to be happy: the relativity of goods and the golden mean
    7. Introduction to virtue
    8. Some of the more important virtues
    9. Virtue and emotion
    10. Early psychological views of virtue and emotion
    11. Virtue and emotion: recent psychological views
    12. The physiological basis of virtue
    13. Emotional intelligence
    14. The development of virtue according to Aristotle
    15. Psychological views of virtue development
    16. The polis and actualization
    17. Contemplation: another kind of happiness.

  • Author

    Samuel S. Franklin, California State University, Fresno
    Samuel S. Franklin is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at California State University, Fresno. His work has focused on visual perception, motivation, the history of psychology, and the psychology of happiness. He began teaching the psychology of happiness in the late 1970s and was one of the first to do so. His research on Aristotle's view of happiness has been presented at conferences, and he has published several articles in the area of visual perception.

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