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Department of Education,National Taiwan Normal University


It is generally agreed among educators that education should assist the educated in leading a flourishing and happy life. However, this conceptual question, “what is happiness” is in want of clarification, and “how exactly can education help the educated lead such a fulfilling life” also needs to be expounded. In response to the recent growing interest in happiness studies in various other disciplines, the author suggests that it is necessary to re-examine the concept of happiness and to think about methods to enhance individual happiness in the context of education. An Aristotelian eudaimonistic perspective sorts out two strings of power effecting happiness. In one string, each person who is not completely maimed in terms of virtues is likely to lead a flourishing and happy life with effort, since the possession and exercise of virtues are essential for happiness. For the other string, it must be acknowledged that happiness is vulnerable to the wheel of fortune, for various factors of luck are inevitably involved in the cultivation and exercise of virtues. Hence, the vulnerability and fragility of happiness comes to the fore. For that matter, the contemporary character education generally distinguished by the inculcation of virtues is a practice of enabling the educated to lead a flourishing and happy life in a eudaimonistic sense. With regard to the influence of various factors of luck, however, the powerlessness of education also needs to be recognized and taken into account.