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Happiness and GoodnessPhilosophical Reflections on Living Well$
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Steven Cahn and Christine Vitrano

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231172400

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231172400.001.0001

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Morality and Unhappiness

Morality and Unhappiness

Chapter:
(p.25) 7 Morality and Unhappiness
Source:
Happiness and Goodness
Author(s):

Steven M. Cahn

Christine Vitrano

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231172400.003.0007

This chapter examines the connection between morality and unhappiness. It considers circumstances in which immoral behavior provides a greater chance to avoid disaster than does acting morally, citing an example inspired by the plot of Woody Allen's movie Crimes and Misdemeanors. Given the ever-present possibilities of accident, illness, and death, everyone's happiness is fragile. Yet we can also ask whether or not the happiness of those who act immorally is more fragile than the happiness of those who act morally. On average such is the case, but averages do not necessarily apply in specific cases. For instance, the average man is taller than the average woman, but some women are taller than most men.

Keywords:   morality, unhappiness, immoral behavior, disaster, Woody Allen, Crimes and Misdemeanors, accident, illness, death, happiness

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