Positive Psychology, Happiness, and Virtue: The Troublesome Conceptual Issues

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63 Citations (Scopus)


This article subjects the recently prominent theory of positive psychology to critical conceptual scrutiny, with emphasis on its general take on happiness, virtue, and positive emotion. It is argued that positive psychology suffers from internal divisions (such as divergent views of its proponents on what happiness is), ambiguities (e.g., regarding the possibility of nonvirtuous happiness), ambivalence (concerning self-realism vs. anti-self-realism), and at least one serious misconception (the assumption that any view that makes overall evaluative judgments thereby prescribes). Nevertheless, many of the charges commonly urged against positive psychology, in particular by Aristotelian theorists, do not stick, and we may be well advised to give it the benefit of our doubt.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-310
Number of pages15
JournalReview of General Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010

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