Does happiness increase with increase in time?
Is happiness the kind of thing that is cumulative over time? To many modern philosophers it has seemed obvious that the answer is yes. For example, Richard Kraut, in his recent book The Quality of Life, argues that the total happiness of a life is an aggregate: it can be calculated by adding up periods of well-being and subtracting periods of ill-being. Against this, it is striking that many ancient philosophers denied that happiness is the kind of thing that is cumulative over time. In this talk, I look at some of their arguments. I focus especially on a line of argument in Plotinus’s Enneads I.5, but also discuss some of the roots of this argument in earlier accounts of happiness.
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