The Pursuit of Happiness in the Democratic Creed: An Analysis of Political Ethics

By Ursula M. von Eckardt | Go to book overview

5
-- AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

Liberty provides the condition for human action and life the material of it. The pursuit of happiness provides the efficient cause or dynamic impulse that moves the human machine. In the same way, a body in motion requires matter: the material existence of the body or life; the space through which to move: or liberty; and something else to provide the energy of movement. Happiness is the end of man, and the desire for it is the inner spring of action. Without it, liberty is empty.


1. The Meaning of Happiness

What is happiness? It was for Jefferson, as it was for Aristotle, that which when isolated makes life desirable and lacking in nothing. 1 It involves the fulfillment of the human faculties, and, therefore, demands that man's functions be rightly performed and that the external conditions for their performance be present. Happiness to some extent depends on fortune, and,

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