La question du bonheur : L’éthique de la joie de Robert Misrahi

Philippe Grill

Table of Contents


These days, philosophers do hardly devote all the attention to happiness that it would deserve except for saying that it has no interest. Equally, this term does not belong any more to the economists’ vocabulary who prefer the one of well-being, which they consider to be less charged metaphysically. The disappearance of this question seems primarily to be linked to the diffusion of a particular philosophical anthropology that, however, does not impose itself as evidently as it seems. The philosophers and the economists conceive individuals as beings moved by a desire that they define, following Plato, as being a lack that has to be filled. By doing this, they only could lead, as it has well been seen by Hobbes and Pascal, to a philosophical pessimism and a minimalist ethic. By defining the desire as force, and not any more as expectancy, Robert Misrahi, following Aristotle and Spinoza, brings a new elan into the moral philosophy that leads to an ethic of a practicable joy. This article wants to show the importance that should have Misrahis’s work for the economist who leaves his or her traditional domain of investigation behind in order to look at normative problems and more particularly ethical ones. To do this, Misrahi’s work will be placed in a long introduction into his intellectual context. Then, in a first section, the origins and foundations of his ethic of joy will be analysed. Finally, in a second section, it will be criticised the thesis of the double transparency that suffuses his ethic, without, however, debiting its potential gains.

Key words

desire, ethic, happiness, hermeneutic, identity, phenomenology, subject.

JEL Classification: A12, A13, B40