Based at UC Berkeley, Greater Good reports on groundbreaking research into the roots of compassion, happiness, and altruism.
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" Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness " is a well-known phrase in the United States Declaration of Independence.  The phrase gives three examples of the " unalienable rights " which the Declaration says have been given to all human beings by their Creator, and which governments are created to protect.
The United States Declaration of Independence was drafted by Thomas Jefferson , and then edited by the Committee of Five , which consisted of Jefferson, John Adams , Benjamin Franklin , Roger Sherman , and Robert Livingston. It was then further edited and adopted by the Committee of the Whole of the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.   The second section of text in the Declaration contains the phrase "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness".
In his Nicomachean Ethics , Aristotle (384-322 B.C.E.) describes the happy life intended for man by nature as one lived in accordance with virtue, and, in his Politics , he describes the role that politics and the political community must play in bringing about the virtuous life in the citizenry.
The Politics also provides analysis of the kinds of political community that existed in his time and shows where and how these cities fall short of the ideal community of virtuous citizens.
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Why is there something rather than nothing? Might the world be an illusion or dream? What exists beyond the human senses? What happens after death?
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Proponents of utilitarianism have disagreed on a number of points, such as whether actions should be chosen based on their results ( act utilitarianism ) or whether agents should conform to rules that maximize utility ( rule utilitarianism ). There is also disagreement as to whether total ( total utilitarianism ) or average ( average utilitarianism ) utility should be maximized.
Though the seeds of the theory can be found in the hedonists Aristippus and Epicurus , who viewed happiness as the only good, the tradition of utilitarianism properly began with Bentham, and has included John Stuart Mill , Henry Sidgwick , R. M. Hare and Peter Singer. It has been applied to social welfare economics, the crisis of global poverty, the ethics of raising animals for food and the importance of avoiding existential risks to humanity.
For many other articles on this topic, see Atheism, agnosticism and humanism: godless religions Questions and Answers
The term “atheism” finds its etymology in the Greek combination of “a” and “theos”. What “atheos” means is, as with any term, subject to context (and perhaps personal interpretation). Note that if an atheist states, “I do not believe in God”, this is technically not a statement about God’s existence or lack thereof. Does atheos mean “no God”, “without God”, “lack God belief” or “God does not exist”?