The End of Happiness – Why Is It Necessary?
The principle of necessitation, as it is commonly understood in moral theory, is that whatever you desire, you must also be able to achieve it. The premise on which this is derived is the thesis that we can derive a universal rule from our desires. The premise furthers to the conclusion that if there is a will there is a way and we are able to know this by applying a standard of reasoning, namely, the will to believe. This may sound plausible at first glance, but when you stop to think about it, the principle breaks down because we are not able to know what will make us happy in the future.
If we want to know what will make us happy in the future, then it would seem more reasonable to infer from our current beliefs, i.e., our prior beliefs, that there will be a future state of happiness for us. This makes sense because our prior beliefs are the results of our reasoning process and therefore they are false. We do not know what will make us happy in the future because we have not thought about it; therefore, our prior beliefs are false. This, however, does not mean that all is lost because there are two types of answers to this question: our rational and intuitive answer. The rational answer is obviously the correct answer but most people subscribe to this kind of answer because they base their decisions upon this. The intuition is based on an emotional response and as such, may lead us into errors.
In order to solve the problem of the End of Happiness, we need to modify the way we look at it. The most important factor in deciding if something is good without qualification is whether it will bring about happiness for the person making the choice or for those around them. I call this my absolute good in-itself or “good” as a motivating force. You may call it a motivational magnet because this is exactly what it is.