Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness

Published on 6th February 2018 by

A six part series written by and presented by the author Alain de Botton. The series forms a self-help guide based on the teachings of famous philosophers from history, with their writing applied to everyday human problems. The series consists of six 24 minute long episodes, all of which we have available here on Documentary Vine, they were originally aired on Channel 4 in the year 2000.

Episode 1: Seneca on Anger

The Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC – AD 65) believed that anger flowed from our surprise when things don’t turn out how we expect; de Botton tests this theory on an angry van driver named Wayne and stressed business executive Venetia.

Episode 2: Schopenhauer on Love

The 19th century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 – 1860) believed that love is the most important thing in life, and his writings attempt to explain why we fall in love and why we fall in love with the people that we do.

Episode 3: Epicurus on Happiness

The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus (341 – 270 BC), founder of the school of philosophy now known as Epicureanism, believed that there are three simple things that human needed to be happy and that money isn’t one of them.

Episode 4: Montaigne on Self-Esteem

16th century French philosopher Michel de Montaigne (1533 – 1592) was one of the most significant philosophers of the French Renaissance and popularised the essay as a literary genre. de Botton explores the problem of low self-esteem through the eyes of Montaigne.

Episode 5: Socrates on Self-Confidence

de Botton explains how classical Greek philosopher Socrates (470 – 399 BC), one of the founders of Western philosophy, can help to give us all the intellectual self-confidence we need to work out what we really think and believe.

Episode 6: Nietzsche on Hardship

German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900) believed that any worthwhile experiences in life come from overcoming hardship, and that a painless existence wouldn’t be worth living. In order to experience good times you must first experience the bad.

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