This edited volume on Critical Happiness Studies is an attack on contemporary Western culture, performed by a group of “progressive” intellectuals nursed on the works of classical critics of the Enlightenment, such as Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, and Adorno, the neoclassical criticism of modernity offered by authors such as Lacan (and Foucault, needless to say), Bauman, Bourdieu, and Bruckner, and the pronouncements of recent critics of neoliberalism such as Ehrenreich, Davies, Binkley, and McMahon. “Interrogating,” as one might say in postmodern lingo, research on human happiness is a way of lodging larger cultural complaints. Some of what the present authors write is novel and interesting, but much of it is a rehash of earlier criticism, an afterglow of the Frankfurt School and its efforts to dim the Enlightenment by noting that it is, like everything else, a dialectic (Horkheimer & Adorno, 1947). Quincas Borba, Joaquim Machado's fictional street philosopher—and his...

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