Date of Completion


Degree Type

Honors Thesis - Campus Access


Philosophy (PHIL)

First Advisor

Jeffrey Wilson


Throughout this paper, I will be explaining my theory on how to achieve maximum happiness in one’s life. In order to do so, I will be analyzing, as well as comparing and contrasting, arguments from two psychologists and two philosophers on what happiness is and how to live out a good and happy life. The two psychologists whose work I will be focusing on are Martin Seligman and Jonathan Haidt. Martin Seligman is a famous American psychologist who is one of the pioneers of positive psychology. Jonathan Haidt is another American psychologist who has completed extensive research on moral psychology and has published several books about how to live out a happy life. The two philosophers that I will be analyzing are Epictetus, a famous Stoic, and Aristotle. Epictetus argues for the idea that happiness should come entirely from things within our control, while Aristotle has a similar view to happiness as mine, in that it requires both external goods and internal controls. My own theory centers around the idea that one must achieve a threshold of external goods. Upon reaching that threshold, any excess external goods can only bring about a fleeting feeling of happiness. Beyond that threshold, one must use their internal strengths such as a positive and growth mindset, in order to maximize their overall happiness and well-being.