International Journal of Existential Positive Psychology

Summum Bonum: An Analysis of The Complex Conceptual Relationship Between Happiness, Meaning, and Self-delusion

Eri Mountbatten-O'Malley, Ph.D. FHEA.

Bath Spa University


Happiness and meaning are intimately connected and important to analyse together for they are closely interrelated. Understanding this connection will help to promote theoretically robust conceptions of happiness. By advancing a conception of happiness rooted in meaning and transcendence, this study explores some important distinctions and tensions between various meanings in life (including between subjective and objective conceptions) and highlights how not making these distinctions can lead to a problematic ‘othering’ of human existence. Contra Wolf (2007), This study concludes with an exploration of the importance of having a moral orientation in terms of living a meaningful life and advocates for a therapeutic conception of philosophy. As I suggest, there is a moral and epistemic imperative to attend to one’s delusions if we are to flourish as human beings.

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