Is there a formula for happiness? It’s interesting to try and express happiness as a formula.

For example, Jeremy Bentham believed happiness was a 'balance of pleasure over pain'.

1. What is your formula for happiness?

Hint - Some people would add ‘doing your duty’ and others might add friendship and ability to handle the knocks you get in life.

So this might be expressed thus:

H = Q(Pl-P) + D + K + F where D = duty and K = ability to handle knocks (events that knock you back) and F = friendship (to include marriage or some form of committed relationship). This implies that many people would think there is more to happiness than just pleasure. Indeed, perhaps it has nothing to do with pleasure?

Jeremy Bentham believed happiness was a 'balance of pleasure over pain'.

So the formula might be:

H = Q (Pl – P) where Q is a quantity of pleasure, Pl, (or pain, P) expressed in a unit of measurement (a hedon).

2. Is Bentham’s formula adequate?

Hint - Mill thought not. It is a swinish philosophy which means there is no difference between the contented pig and the contented philosopher. “Better a fool dissatisfied than a pig satisfied” he felt. Mill believed pleasure was a qualitative idea meaning there were good and bad forms of pleasure e.g. getting drunk and smoking dope = bad forms of happiness, and contemplating philosophy and reading a good book = good forms of happiness. But where does this leave sexual relations, for example? Maybe there are dimensions to sexual relationships so that the best sex includes higher forms of happiness (a spiritual ecstasy not just a physical one?).