When we talk about happiness are we talking about a feeling of pleasure? If so, is it a singular felt sensation or a spectrum of felt sensations? Or maybe it’s more of a positive psychological feeling … more of an attitude. If that’s the case then maybe this pleasure we speak of is best understood as a natural propensity for positivity, a “happiness resilience” so to speak. That’s perhaps just a few short steps away from calling happiness an emotional state determined by our mood, a “dispositional phenomenon” that takes into account our personal history and potential future. But maybe it has nothing to do with all of that. Maybe happiness is the product of a life of virtue, living an excellent human life, fulfilling our potential in all areas of life. This definition, however, brings into question whether we should consider virtues objectively or subjectively. And if we choose the objective approach are we prepared to say that someone can happy even if they aren’t personally satisfied by the attainment of those objectives? In other words, can someone be happy even if they don’t feel happy? If we’re not prepared to accept that definition then perhaps we’ll accept that happiness is defined by a personal satisfaction with life, determined by how well we live in accord to our personal values throughout life.
Jonas Cain's And The Pursuit Of Happiness explores these theories to arrive at a clear understating of how to pursue happiness.