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Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Utility: Happiness in Philosophical and Economic Thought (St Andrews Studies in Philosophy and Public Affairs) Paperback – October 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews


"We now have a new study of an altogether superior kind by a father and son team of philosopher and economist... To make progress the authors break up happiness into three components: welfare, contentment and dignity... The most striking of the Kenny findings is how little welfare has to do with income either absolute or relative."

(Samuel Brittan Financial Times)

"This is very much a worthwhile book. It usefully synthesizes literatures and arguments from philosophy and economics, and shows how they bear on moral and political deliberations about happiness."

(Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews)

"It is a great intellectual pleasure... witty, profound but well understandable, the reader feels the moral and political commitment of the authors."

(Helge Peukert Journal of Economic Issues, vol. 41, no. 3)

"While clearly written, it is pretty advanced in the technicality of its arguments. I would recommend it for a third-year course on ethics or practical theology... [L]eaves one with much to think about."

(Revd Dr Sedgwick Church Times)

"A unique and valuable book on the meaning of happiness that, while interdisciplinary, preserves the strengths of the distinct disciplinary approaches it includes... The Kennys have done an admirable job of writing a plausible, well-argued, and accessible volume that should be of benefit to both academic and non-academic audiences."

(Journal of Law, Philosophy and Culture)

About the Author

Sir Anthony Kenny was formerly Master of Balliol College, Oxford, and is currently president of the British Academy. His many books include Medieval Philosophy, A Brief History of Western Philosophy, The Oxford Illustrated History of Western Philosophy, Ancient Philosophy and Wittgenstein

Sir Anthony Kenny is one of Britain's most distinguished academic figures. He has been Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, Master of Balliol College, Chairman of the Board of the British Library, and President of the British Academy. He has published more than forty books on philosophy
and history.

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Product Details

  • Series: St Andrews Studies in Philosophy and Public Affairs (Book 7)
  • Paperback: 227 pages
  • Publisher: Imprint Academic (October 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845400526
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845400521
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,647,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Moss on March 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
"Happiness studies" is a new and growing field, but is also currently dominated by pop-psychology and some rather confusing studies based on surveys which try to compare across countries. This book by Anthony and Charles Kenny brings a serious scholarly perspective--actually, two perspectives that work surprisingly well together--to the subject matter. The book is a set of essays, each chapter alternately on the philosophy (written by Anthony, a former master of Balliol College, Oxford) and the economics (written by Charles, a noted economist) of happiness. Their approach implicitly reminds the reader that philosophy and economics used to be one and the same (a commentary in itself on the sometimes sorry effects of growing academic specialization). The book asks essentially two questions: What is happiness all about? And how is it related other things we are supposed to care about, like quality of life or wealth? The two authors weave together history with current debates and new evidence to give a rich account of the state of our understanding. And it's actually very readable, so don't let the imposing academic cover scare you off.
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