A line from an article on antidepressants that I read this morning reminded me of my longstanding objections to happiness utilitarianism.
Yet for those in search of a more holistic treatment to what can be a lifelong obstacle to wellness and quality of life, the idea of exercise as treatment for depression could be encouraging. First, there’s the issue of cost: Americans spend $10 billion on antidepressants each year, and in some cases, side effects like sleep disturbances or changes in libido and body weight can be only slightly more appealing than the depression itself.
Happiness is not the end. It is only one end among many, ends which must be traded off against each other. Moreover, happiness may only be our bodies’ means to other ends. Would separating the means from those ends compromise the latter?