Thomas Hobbes’s concept of felicity is a re-imagining of the Hellenistic concept of eudaimonia, which is based on the doctrine that people by nature are happy with little. His concept is based instead on an alternative view, that people by nature are never satisfied and it directly challenges the Aristotelian and Hellenistic concepts of eudaimonia. I also will suggest that Hobbes developed it from ideas he found in Aristotle’s Rhetoric as well as in Francis Bacon’s critique of ancient moral philosophy in The Advancement of Learning.
D. Rutherford, “In Pursuit of Happiness: Hobbes’s New Science of Ethics,”Philosophical Topics, 31 (2003), 380; M. T. Harvey, “Hobbes’s Voluntarist Theory of Morals,” Hobbes Studies, 22 (2009), 55–57; S. V. Kitanov, “Happiness in a Mechanistic Universe: Hobbes on the Nature and Attainability of Happiness,” Hobbes Studies, 24 (2011), 117–18; L. Foisneau, “Hobbes on Desire and Happiness,” Homo Oeconomicus, 31 (2014), 479–89.
T. Sorell, “Hobbes and Aristotle,” in Philosophy in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, ed. C. Blackwell and S. Kusukawa (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999), 371; C. Leijenhorst, The Mechanisation of Aristotelianism (Leiden: Brill, 2002), 219–22; J. Lemetti, “From Metaphysics to Ethics and Beyond: Hobbes’s Reaction to Aristotelian Essentialism,” in Matter and Form, ed. A. Ward (Lanham, md: Lexington Books, 2009), 147–62; A. Brett, “‘The Matter, Forme, and Power of a Common-wealth’: Thomas Hobbes and Late Renaissance Commentary on Aristotle’s Politics,” Hobbes Studies, 23 (2010), 72–102; I. D. Evrigenis, Images of Anarchy (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 100–101, 110.
S. James, Passion and Action (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 4–5. Most early modern lists of the passions were based either on Aristotle’s account, which reduced all variants of the passions to six, or the Stoic account, which reduced them to four. Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, ed. T. C. Faulkner, N. K. Kiessling and R. L. Blair, Vol. 1 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989), 255.
C. Brooke, Philosophical Pride (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012), 73. I agree with Juhanna Lemetti that Hobbes does not have a unified notion of human nature in the classic sense. His early claims for the preeminence of the passion of glory sit uneasily with other elements of his theory of human behavior, such as his Aristotelian notion of the virtuous person, his description of the classical “great spirited” or magnanimous man, and what Bernard Gert has accurately described as Hobbes’s account of the malleability of human nature. Perhaps this explains, at least in part, why his emphasis on glory disappears in Leviathan. My point is that we have to understand the early importance of glory to understand his orientation to eudaimonia. B. Gert, Hobbes (Oxford: Polity Press, 2010), 42; Lemetti, “Metaphysics to Ethics,” 151–52.