HAU

"Good without God": Happiness and pleasure among the humanists

Matthew Engelke

Abstract


In this article, I explore conceptions of happiness and pleasure among secular humanists in Britain. Based on fieldwork among members of the British Humanist Association, and its associated local groups, I argue that happiness for the humanists is both the promise and demand of enlightenment, of an appeal to reason over and against what they see as the irrationality of religion. For them, happiness and pleasure are subjective experiences, but they are also indices of philosophical and ethical commitments. For the humanists, in short, to be happy is to be secular.


Keywords


humanism, happiness, secularism, ethics, Britain

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14318/hau5.3.005