Abstract In 2002 Sissela Bok re-published her book ‘‘Common Values’’, first published in 1995, about her search for a minimal set of values to be respected all over the world. In her view such a set of values is needed to facilitate international communication and cooperation. Values already recognized in every society can be included as a starting point. In her book ‘‘Exploring happiness’’, published in 2010, she explains why she finds happiness unfit to be included. She observes that there are discordant claims about what happiness is. Any particular vision can lead to practical choices that either adhere or violate the values she prefers. In my view subjective happiness should be included, because there are no discordant claims about the meaning of subjective happiness, and subjective happiness is simultaneously attractive as a moral value and as an object of scientific research. Subjective happiness can function as a bridge between science and morality. The only discordant claims are about ‘objective’ happiness, as a wider interpretation of well-being in the context of some specific morality or ideology.

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doi.org/10.1007/s10902-012-9327-5, hdl.handle.net/1765/34817
Journal of Happiness Studies
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Ott, J. C. (2012). Science and Morality: Mind the Gap, Use Happiness as a Safe Bridge! Book review of ‘‘Exploring Happiness: from Aristotle to Brain Science’’ by Sissela Bok, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2010. Journal of Happiness Studies, 1–7. doi:10.1007/s10902-012-9327-5