Integrity and Selflessness.

  • Paul Zamp

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


This thesis is an examination of the relationship between integrity and selflessness. The research is based on philosophical work by Nancy Schauber, Jeremey Bentham, John Stuart Mill, Aristotle, Aquinas, Alasdair MacIntyre and others. Using this work, I argue that the relationship between the two conditions of human nature, selflessness, and integrity, is critical to the good life. I argue that to live selflessly and with integrity is our best chance of being happy. Living a selfless life of integrity not only leads to personal happiness, but contributes to the happiness of others both directly (by helping and consoling others) and indirectly (by showing others how happiness is possible). I argue that this theory works in all conditions. This leads me to a concept of how happiness works in a community which I call the happiness bank. My theory is that integrity and selflessness lead both to a good and happy life, but also to a happiness bank. The happiness bank is something that individuals contribute to through other-directed good actions, and make withdrawals from when they need the help and consolation of others. Contributions by individuals increase happiness within a community and form the primary moral resource of the community. A happiness bank grows, and its contributions multiply like compound interest.
Date of Award7 Oct 2017
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorDamian Cox (Supervisor) & Daniel Brennan (Supervisor)

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