The Call To Happiness: An Investigation of Happiness, Virtues, Commands and the Common Good in the Doctrine of Calling, through the work of Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas and Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century English Puritans.
Full recordShow full item record
AbstractThis thesis is about eudaimonism in Puritan thought. I am concerned with the living strand of Christian eudaemonism within the writings of 16th and 17th century English Puritans, which has long tendrils back into the tradition, and which is, more or less, neglected by commentators. I will be concerned to show that the notion of divine callings as a kind of command from God can sit comfortably alongside this eudaemonism, without rendering the Puritans ‘divine command theorists.’ As a sub-category of eudaemonism, I will address the Puritan notion of divine callings, showing how this can be understood as an aspect of human flourishing. And, further, as a sub-category of calling, I will look at how the category of ‘work’ can also be understood as an aspect of human flourishing, illuminated from within this tradition of Christian eudaimonism. I show within the Christian eudaemonistic tradition a distinction between natural and supernatural ends, the latter being only achieved in the vision of God in the next life. With this distinction made, I show that earthly happiness is constituted by the right use of reason in theoria and praxis, being related to our work places as well as a lifelong engagement in theology and philosophy. I then show the relationship between divine command theories and naturalism by looking at the emphasis on the development of virtue to character states appropriate to humankind as rational animals as a command of God. I then move to an examination of more particular commands in the doctrine of calling, arguing that for the Puritans the means of achieving earthly happiness vary from person to person and extend into our talents and workplaces. Finally, I show that personal earthly happiness cannot be achieved without the assistance of friendship in ecclesial and political communities.
WARNE, NATHANIEL,ADAM (2015) The Call To Happiness: An Investigation of Happiness, Virtues, Commands and the Common Good in the Doctrine of Calling, through the work of Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas and Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century English Puritans. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.