Seminar paper from the year 2003 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Culture and Applied Geography, grade: 1,3 (A), University of Leipzig (Institute for Anglistics), course: Seminar: The Virtues of Work. Ethics and Enterprise in Victorian Times., language: English, abstract: Everybody wants to be happy. In order to reach happiness, man throughout history has followed many courses. But what is happiness? The opinions varied largely throughout history. Man has discovered a certain texture of 'being'; he has realized that he is both, an individual and a part of a whole, society. According to this, he always made attempts to apply structure on the things and phenomena around him and thus tries to define happiness and find ways to reach and preserve it. True, the different views show certain similarities but there is still no unity today. However happiness might be defined, whether as a 'good life', as contentment or as the absence of physical or mental suffering or anything else, however it is believed to be reached and preserved best, the search for the essence of happiness always seems to be a quest for the holy grail. Otfried Höffe describes happiness as follows 1 : Happiness is an inclusive goal of man. It is not the top of a hierarchy of goals but an attendant circumstance of a success. Happiness is therefore not a thing and it cannot, like many other phenomena, be seen in this light. But things are easily imaginable for the human being. This might be the reason for the difficulties in defining happiness. It is a feature of being human to develop systems to arrange and organize things. Now, if happiness cannot be reified and therefore not be presented as an essence of existence, which is conceivable by everybody in the same way, it may for the present only be described as the satisfaction of the wants and needs of the individual. From this one may conclude that happiness can only be intentio indirecta of public action. Utilitarianism, as a system of ethics, roots in the period of Enlightenment. Based on a humanistic view, it is an important attempt to discuss the question of happiness in a reasonable and non-speculative way and make it a concern of all thinking and feeling creatures. But, as Utilitarianism treated happiness as intentio directa in the name of the principle of utility, Utilitarian overvaluation of mathematics and logic made many problems concerning the applicability of the theory in reality, arise.
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