Well-being occupies a central role in ethics and political philosophy, including in major theories such as utilitarianism. It also extends far beyond philosophy: recent studies into the science and psychology of well-being have propelled the topic to centre stage, and governments spend millions on promoting it. We are encouraged to adopt modes of thinking and behaviour that support individual well-being or 'wellness'.
What is well-being? Which theories of well-being are most plausible? In this rigorous and comprehensive introduction to the topic, Guy Fletcher unpacks and assesses these questions and many more, including:
Are pleasure and pain the only things that affect well-being?
Is desire-fulfilment the only thing that makes our lives go well?
Can something be good for someone who does not desire it?
Is well-being fundamentally connected to a distinctive human nature?
Is happiness all that makes our lives go well?
Is death necessarily bad for us?
How is the well-being of a whole life related to well-being at particular times?
Annotated further reading and study and comprehension questions follow each chapter, and a glossary of key terms is also included, making The Philosophy of Well-Being essential reading for students of ethics and political philosophy. This title is also suitable for those in related disciplines such as psychology, politics and sociology.
Guy Fletcher is a Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, UK. His current research is in metaethics, moral psychology and political philosophy. He is also the editor of The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being (2016).
Introduction 1. Hedonism 2. Desire-fulfillment Theory 3. Objective List theories 4. Perfectionist theories of well-being 5. The Happiness Theory of Well-Being 6. Hybrid Theories of Well-Being 7. Well-Being and the Shape of a Life 8. Well-Being and Death Conclusion. List of Cases Glossary Index