De letters CCEP in donderrood tegen een Radboudrode achtergrond
De letters CCEP in donderrood tegen een Radboudrode achtergrond

Continental Philosophy and Happiness

2023 until 2026
Project member(s)
Dr Y.M. de Boer (Ype)
Project type

Contemporary continental philosophy is ambivalent when it comes to happiness. It takes up a prominent position in the work of, for instance, Giorgio Agamben with his enigmatic notion of ‘vita felice’, and in that of Alain Badiou, for whom '[a]ll philosophy is a metaphysics of happiness... or it's not worth an hour of trouble'. Both inherit an old tradition of ethical thought that claims a deep relation between truth, being, the good and happiness.

At the same time, however, at least since Kant modern philosophy is marked by a certain distrust of happiness, deeming it a subject too egotistic, amoral, privileged or distracting for serious ethical thought. In addition, a mounting body of literature argues that happiness has been commodified and therefor hinders rather than aids the emancipatory efforts of philosophy.

This project aims to chart the philosophical potential of happiness in contemporary continental thought. How do continental philosophers approach it? What is its relation to truth and to the various domains of thought, such as ontology, ethics and politics?


The project has so far resulted in articles, a conference, and a special issue.

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