Kahneman and Bentham’s Bucket of Happiness

Scientific American:

We need a new happiness. The one most people use now is confusing even our smartest scientists. The problems start with “Bentham’s bucket error” but Plato’s pastry and a rare case of reality in Freud can revive healthier pursuits of happiness.

Daniel Kahneman, who has plausibly been called the “most important psychologist alive today,” has spent a decade experimenting with “hedonimetrics,” which analyzes “single happiness values” assigned to each moments felt pleasure or pain. Commendably candid, he concludes: “we have learned many new facts about happiness. But we have also learned that the word happiness does not have a simple meaning and should not be used as if it does. Sometimes scientific progress leaves us more puzzled.” Despite eons of thinking, happiness has become a low-resolution word, unhelpful in seeing useful distinctions.

Read the whole story: Scientific American

See Daniel Kahneman at the 25th APS Annual Convention.

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