September 4, 2012
A Different Look At Happiness
In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle says (about Happiness) that “for both the multitude and persons of refinement speak of it as Happiness, and conceive the ‘the good life or ‘doing well’ to be the same thing as ‘being happy.’ But what constitutes happiness is a matter of dispute” (Aristotle 7). However, what about those persons not of “refinement,” those looking to make others miserable and those who find happiness in making others miserable? The word that might come to mind is the German word, “schadenfreude” for which there is no English equivalent. It literally means “ pleasure derived from the misfortune of others.” So, what do you think Aristotle’s position on schadenfreude would be? Is it ethical? Would someone engaging in schadenfreude be “virtuous” or “good” in Aristotle’s mind?