TOPICS FOR WRITING AND DISCUSSION
- 1. Ifyou had to choose one theory ofhappiness discussed inthis chapter as dominant in our society, which would itbe? Explain. Then indicate whether it represents your
2, Create and then describe three television commercials forthe same product, each directed toward a differentaudience: (a) a hedonist, (b) an epicurean, and (c) aBuddhist.
3. Choose one ofthe following options for discussion or ashort paper:
a” A gambler who has lost all evening makes one last betwith money that has been saved for the down paymenton a house and wins back twice the sum. Could vou
justiry the risk? Or take the gambler to ta.k r”gardlessofthe win? Is life a matter oftaking risks an).way? Is itworth playing close to the vest?
b. In a childrent game ofmusical chairs, one child isclearly the winner. Should the organizers ofthe gamegive each child the same prize in order not to hurtanyone’s feelings? Or should children be taught at anearly age how the world usually works? Which ofthese two approaches is likely to produce the happier child?
c. The big earnings theory, discussed in the chapter,maintains that people who work hard or sacrifice
for each other deserve substantial rewards. Pretendyou have found somebodyt wallet containing $1,000as wellas the name and phone number ofthe
owner. You return it and receive a “thank you verymuch’ and thatt all. You ask Aristippus, Epicurus,
and Aristotle how you should feel. What do theyanswer?
4. Write a toast you would make for a newly married couple,as ifyou were (a) a stoic and then (b) the Dalai Lama.
5. Andrew Carnegie wrote: “While the law of competitionmay be sometimes hard for the individual, it is best foreach race, because it insures the survival ofthe fittest. Weaccept and therefore welcome great inequality ofenvironment, the concentration ofbusiness in the handsofa few, and the law of competition between them asbeing essential for the future progress ofthe race.” On
which theory ofhappiness is this idea based? Do you agree with it? Why or why not?
6. Which theory ofhappiness in your opinion is mosthelpful to the world and which the least? Explain youraDswers,
7. The mother in a very poor family once made fried doughwith powdered sugar for Thanksgiving dinner and toldeveryone they were going to have a real treat. Whichphilosophy ofhappiness would be most likely to say thiswas a lie? Which would be most likely to agree with themother? Think carefully before you answer, then explainyour choices.
8. Both Gandhi and King were assassinated. In youropinion, does this fact alter the view that, in Aristotelianterms, they led happy lives?
9, The English philosopher Bertrand Russell said work is amajor component ofhappiness. Which kind ofwork doyou anticipate doing? Which kind ofwork do you thinkoffers the best chance ofleading you to happiness? Arethey the samei
10. A philosopher said, “Take care that your happiness doesnot depend on what happens to youl’ To which theory ofhappiness is this statement most closely related? Is it, inyour opinion, a reasonable or even possible approach toliving? What can be said in favor ofand against it?