A different question is what means of pursuing happiness are mosteffective. This is fundamentally an empirical question, butthere are some in-principle issues that philosophical reflection mightinform. One oft-heard claim, commonly called the “paradox ofhedonism,” is that the pursuit of happiness is self-defeating; tobe happy, don't pursue happiness. It is not clear how tointerpret this dictum, however, so that it is both interesting andtrue. It is plainly imprudent to make happiness one's focus atevery moment, but doubtful that this has often been denied. Yet neverconsidering happiness also seems an improbable strategy for becominghappier. If you are choosing among several equally worthwhileoccupations, and have good evidence that some of them will make youmiserable, while one of them is likely to be highly fulfilling, itwould not seem imprudent to take that information into account. Yet todo so just is to pursue happiness. The so-called paradox of hedonism isperhaps best seen as a vague caution against focusing too much onmaking oneself happy, not a blanket dismissal of the prospects forexpressly seeking happiness—and for this modest point there isgood empirical evidence (Schooler, Ariely . 2003,Lyubomirsky 2007).


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