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Philosophers' and Psychologists' Agreements or Disagreements on What Happiness is

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Chinese philosopher Confucius explored what is needed to achieve happiness and sustain it. He believed that happiness is largely down to the individuals’ moral innocence and place within society rather than the individuals desires. Confucius looks at multiple ways to develop good character throughout our lives by increasing our place in society and thus increasing our happiness.

One element Confucian’s believe in to be happy is to invest in friendships and the idea of ‘Jen’, which means feeling concerned for the well-being of others. By investing in other people’s feelings, you not only aid their happiness but your own by knowing you have helped someone when they needed it the most. By sustaining this investing, you sustain your happiness. Additionally, by becoming an avid member of society by joining different clubs and groups (including work), it will increase peoples happiness, due to the social interaction which allows you to invest in friendships but also develop a good moral character by helping your community with your time. Confucius highlights the importance of dedication to your education and occupation, the better educated you become, the higher the chances of achieving a better job and wealth earned from hard work, is seen positively by Confucianism; because it means people with money have higher status allowing them to have more means to be happy. As well as hard work Confucius believed that mild amounts of fun were acceptable to achieve instant pleasure. Finally, Confucius argues that one of the most important aspects of reaching happiness is by having a sense of duty and responsibility within your friendships, society and occupation.

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To summarise, Confucius doesn’t lay out a set ideology of what happiness is but a checklist on how to achieve it throughout our lives. His attitude of working hard and investing in friendships and the community we live in can still be seen in our modern society almost two thousand three hundred years later, with more people than ever going to University to achieve a good earning job; along with the numerous community centres and clubs around promoting social interaction allowing friendships to form and societies to bond; supporting Confucius idea that people become happy by knowing their place in society. Confucianism approach to a happy life is simple but effective.

Comparing Aristotle and Confucius highlight stark differences such as if we as human should aim for pleasure or not. Aristotle claims its something only animals strive for and with our higher-level reasoning we should be aiming for more. Whereas Confucius sees that ‘having fun’ can bring us instant pleasure and happiness during our journey for sustained happiness. However, they both agree that friendship is the one of the most important factors needed in achieving happiness, Confucius that by being concerned about other people’s well-being it boosts your own happiness level and your friends. He encourages the joining of communities and clubs so we can increase our friendship circle and therefore our overall happiness level. Although Aristotle agrees in the importance of friendship, he views it as almost sacred, stating that in order to maintain a virtuous friendship (the highest friendship one can acquire) you cannot have many friends due to the effort required. Such instances are repeated when comparing Aristotle and Confucius, with them having the same overlying themes but different interpretations and approaches on what that means to achieve happiness. None the less the overlying themes both build up a good moral character which they both believe is needed for happiness.

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Philosophers’ and Psychologists’ Agreements or Disagreements on What Happiness is. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 6, 2023, from
“Philosophers’ and Psychologists’ Agreements or Disagreements on What Happiness is.” Edubirdie, 15 Sept. 2022,
Philosophers’ and Psychologists’ Agreements or Disagreements on What Happiness is. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 6 Dec. 2023].
Philosophers’ and Psychologists’ Agreements or Disagreements on What Happiness is [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 15 [cited 2023 Dec 6]. Available from:
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