Bene vivere politice : On the (Meta)biopolitics of “Happiness”
Backman, J. (2022). Bene vivere politice : On the (Meta)biopolitics of “Happiness”. In J. Backman, & A. Cimino (Eds.), Biopolitics and Ancient Thought (pp. 126-144). Oxford University Press. Classics in Theory. https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780192847102.003.0007
Published inClassics in Theory
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© Oxford University Press, 2022
This chapter approaches the question of biopolitics in ancient political thought looking not at specific political techniques but at notions of the final aim of the political community. It argues that the “happiness” (eudaimonia, beatitudo) that constitutes the greatest human good in the tradition from Aristotle to Thomas Aquinas is not a “biopolitical” ideal, but rather a metabiopolitical one, consisting in a contemplative activity situated above and beyond the biological and the political. It is only with Thomas Hobbes that civic happiness becomes “biopolitically” identified with simple survival; for modernity, as Hannah Arendt puts it, mere being alive becomes the greatest human good, and happiness is understood as a subjective “quality of life.” In both models, the political realm is a means to an end. Arendt draws our attention to a neglected third alternative to both the classical/metabiopolitical and the modern/biopolitical ideals: “public happiness” consisting in political participation itself. ...
PublisherOxford University Press
Parent publication ISBN978-0-19-284710-2
Is part of publicationBiopolitics and Ancient Thought
Aristoteles Tuomas Akvinolainen Hobbes, Thomas Arendt, Hannah Foucault, Michel Ojakangas, Mika metabiopolitiikka Aristotle Thomas Aquinas biopolitics metabiopolitics happiness supreme good poliittinen filosofia onnellisuus biopolitiikka hyvä antiikin filosofia hyvä elämä elämänlaatu poliittinen osallistuminen keskiajan filosofia
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Related funder(s)Academy of Finland
Funding program(s)Academy Research Fellow, AoF
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