Can technology make us happy? : ethics, spectator's happiness and the value of achievement

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The chapter introduces a distinction between a person-related and a circumstance directed type of happiness in order to investigate in which way modern technology can contribute to human happiness. This distinction is elaborated as the difference between ‘achiever’s happiness’ and ‘spectator’s happiness’. Looking at the ethical tradition, it is argued that moral philosophers have certain expectations about what should count as true happiness for human beings, who can act in accordance with moral values. The essay presents three arguments for the superiority of achiever’s happiness from a moral point of view. Looking at modern technology it is argued that we find both in an optimistic and a pessimistic evaluation of modern technology valuable insights into the role that technology can (and can not) play for the human striving for happiness. Finally persuasive technologies are presented as one type of recent technologies that promises to contribute to achiever’s happiness if developed while taking ethical requirements into account.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWell-being in contemporary society
EditorsJ.H. Søraker, J.-W. Rijt, van der, J. Boer, de, P.-H. Wong, P. Breij
Place of PublicationDordrecht
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-06458-1
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NameHappiness Studies Book Series


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