What is the relationship between moral virtue and happiness? Does having moral virtues make their possessors happy? Can one be happy without them? Philosophers provide diverging answers to these questions due to their different understandings of the concept of happiness which has multifarious meanings and senses. In this essay, I compare the representative Western theories of happiness with what may be called “a classical Confucian view” informed by recent scholarship on classical Confucianism. I argue that for classical Confucian philosophers, especially Confucius and Mencius, there are two kinds of happiness: exclusive (or unshared) and inclusive (or shared) happiness. I conclude that moral virtue is necessary for inclusive happiness shared by the virtuous and the recipients of their virtuous actions and/or policies.
"Moral Virtue and Inclusive Happiness: From Ancient to Recent in Western and Confucian Traditions,"
Comparative Philosophy: Vol. 12:
2, Article 12.
Available at: https://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/comparativephilosophy/vol12/iss2/12