The Joy of Duty: Human Happiness and Ethical Obligation

James Dillon

The Joy of Duty: Human Happiness and Ethical Obligation
Ethics International Press Ltd
United Kingdom
15 November 2022

The Joy of Duty: Human Happiness and Ethical Obligation

James Dillon

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A corporate executive is miserable and seeks the help of a psychotherapist. A college student is unhappy in her current major and goes to her academic advisor. A married couple struggles with discord and seeks the help of a licensed counsellor. In each case, the diagnosis and prescription will likely be the same: you are miserable because you are not doing what you want. Your path to happiness thus lies in figuring out what you enjoy doing, coming up with a strategy to satisfy these desires, and then executing your plan. This is the standard approach to happiness used in much of today s counselling and psychotherapeutic practice. The Socratic, Stoic, and Confucian philosophical traditions tell a different story: you are miserable because you are not doing what you must.Through historical and contemporary case studies, analyses of key novels, reviews of modern psychological research, interviews with struggling people, and close readings of philosophical texts, The Joy of Duty illuminates the intimate connection between human joy and the performance of ethical obligation.

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