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Subject Philosophy

People Hobbes, Thomas

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631192626.2005.x


Hobbes uses two English words to express the concept at issue here: “happiness” and “felicity.” In Latin, he uses felicitas to convey “felicity,” but several locutions to convey “happiness,” such as sanctus and salutas aeterna , and felicitas ( LW 3:94, 310, 324). “Happy” is sometimes translated as beatus. (My sense is that Hobbes thought that Latin did not have a true equivalent to the English “happiness,” because sometimes the corresponding word that would translate it or the passage that contains the word “happiness” (or a cognate) does not occur in the Latin version.) He usually uses “happiness” in discussions of God's mental state, to speak loosely, and “felicity” in discussions of the human condition. “Delight” he defines as the experience of achieving one's goals or satisfying one's desires. The “real effect” of satisfying a desire, that is, “that which is really within us” is “only motion”. What I have referred to as the “experience” of this motion Hobbes calls “the appearence or sense of that motion” ( L 6.9; EL 1.7.7). Most of what Hobbes has to say about happiness occurs in The Elements of Law and Leviathan. There are only passing mentions of happiness in De Cive and the word “felicity” or felicitas does not occur in it at all. In Anti-White , Hobbes says, “Undeniably happiness consists in a life's being lived with pleasure, i.e. with the greatest ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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