Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

"Good without God": happiness and pleasure among the humanists

Engelke, Matthew (2015) "Good without God": happiness and pleasure among the humanists. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, 5 (3). pp. 69-91. ISSN 2049-1115

PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (313kB) | Preview

Identification Number: 10.14318/hau5.3.005


In this article, I explore conceptions of happiness and pleasure among secular humanists in Britain. Based on fieldwork among members of the British Humanist Association, and its associated local groups, I argue that happiness for the humanists is both the promise and demand of enlightenment, of an appeal to reason over and against what they see as the irrationality of religion. For them, happiness and pleasure are subjective experiences, but they are also indices of philosophical and ethical commitments. For the humanists, in short, to be happy is to be secular.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 The Author © CC BY 4.0
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2016 15:28
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2024 22:48
Projects: RES-000-22-4157
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics