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Summary A theory of well-being is objective if it allows for the possibility of something being good for someone without that person desiring (or having some other relevant pro-attitude) towards that thing. A theory of well-being is also objective if it allows for the possibility of something being bad for someone without that person being averse (or having some other relevant con-attitude) towards that thing.
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  1. Robert Adams, Well-Being and Excellence.
    We have noted some fundamental distinctions between types of goodness or value. There is usefulness, or merely instrumental goodness, the value that something may have as a means to something else that is good or that is valued. Usefulness has an obvious importance, and connects with significant philosophical issues about instrumentality and probability; but more fundamental issues for ethical theory are posed by the goods or ends that the useful is to serve. Within the realm of what is good for (...)
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  2. Mark Alfano, Andrew Higgins & Jacob Levernier (forthcoming). Mapping Human Values: Enhancing Social Marketing Through Obituary Data-Mining. In Eda Gurel-Atay & Lynn Kahle (eds.), Social and Cultural Values in a Global and Digital Age. Routledge
    Obituaries are an especially rich resource for identifying people’s values. Because obituaries are succinct and explicitly intended to summarize their subjects’ lives, they may be expected to include only the features that the author(s) find most salient, not only for themselves as relatives or friends of the deceased, but also to signal to others in the community the socially-recognized aspects of the deceased’s character. We report three approaches to the scientific study of virtue and value through obituaries. We begin by (...)
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  3. Veronica Alfano & Mark Alfano (forthcoming). Still Lives: The History and Philosophy of Mourning Texts. Routledge.
    “Call no one happy until they are dead.” “Never speak ill of the dead.” If we still heed the injunctions of Solon and Chilon of Sparta, then obituaries, which represent a prominent way of expressing the human universal of grief, are a resource for philosophical anthropology. Philosophers have emphasized that we can determine what counts as a virtue for a given type of person in a given cultural context by analyzing what people say about the dead (Zagzebski 1996, p. 135). (...)
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  4. Richard Arneson, Two Cheers for Capabilities.
    What is the best standard of interpersonal comparison for a broadly egalitarian theory of social justice?1 A broadly egalitarian theory is one that holds that justice requires that institutions and individual actions should be arranged to improve, to some degree, the quality of life of those who are worse off than others, or very badly off, or both.2 I shall add the specification that to qualify as broadly egalitarian, the theory must in some circumstances require action to aid the worse (...)
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  5. Richard Arneson (1999). Human Flourishing Versus Desire Satisfaction. Social Philosophy and Policy 16 (1):113-142.
    What is the good for human persons? If I am trying to lead the best possible life I could lead, not the morally best life, but the life that is best for me, what exactly am I seeking? This phrasing of the question I will be pursuing may sound tendentious, so some explaining is needed. What is good for one person, we ordinarily suppose, can conflict with what is good for other persons and with what is required by morality. A (...)
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  6. Gwen Bradford (2011). Thomas Hurka, The Best Things in Life: A Guide to What Really Matters. [REVIEW] Journal of Value Inquiry 45 (4):487-490.
  7. Ben Bradley (2009). Well-Being and Death. Oxford University Press.
  8. James Bradley (1990). Alasdair Macintyre on the Good Life and the 'Narrative Model'. Heythrop Journal 31 (3):324–326.
  9. Ben Bramble (forthcoming). A New Defense of Hedonism About Well-Being. Ergo.
    According to hedonism about well-being, lives can go well or poorly for us just in virtue of our ability to feel pleasure and pain. Hedonism has had many advocates historically, but has relatively few nowadays. This is mainly due to three highly influential objections to it: The Philosophy of Swine, The Experience Machine, and The Resonance Constraint. In this paper, I attempt to revive hedonism. I begin by giving a precise new definition of it. I then argue that the right (...)
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  10. Ben Bramble (2016). The Experience Machine. Philosophy Compass 11 (3):136-145.
    In this paper, I reconstruct Robert Nozick's experience machine objection to hedonism about well-being. I then explain and briefly discuss the most important recent criticisms that have been made of it. Finally, I question the conventional wisdom that the experience machine, while it neatly disposes of hedonism, poses no problem for desire-based theories of well-being.
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  11. Talbot Brewer (2009). The Retrieval of Ethics. Oxford University Press.
    Talbot Brewer offers a new approach to ethical theory, founded on a far-reaching reconsideration of the nature and sources of human agency.
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  12. Roger Crisp (ed.) (1996). How Should One Live?: Essays on the Virtues. Oxford University Press.
    The last few years have seen a remarkable revival of interest in the virtues, which have regained their central role in moral philosophy. This thought-provoking new collection is a much-needed survey of virtue ethics and virtue theory. The specially commissioned articles by an international team of philosophers represent the state of the art in this subject and will set the agenda for future work in the area. The contributors--including Lawrence Blum, John Cottingham, Julia Driver, Rosalind Hursthouse, Terence Irwin, Susan Moller (...)
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  13. Stephen L. Darwall (2002). Welfare and Rational Care. Princeton University Press.
    "This book proposes a new view on a central topic in contemporary ethics.
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  14. Dale Dorsey (2015). Welfare, Autonomy, and the Autonomy Fallacy. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (2):141-164.
    In this article, I subject the claim that autonomous choice is an intrinsic welfare benefit to critical scrutiny. My argument begins by discussing perhaps the most influential argument in favor of the intrinsic value of autonomy: the argument from deference. In response, I hold that this argument displays what I call the ‘Autonomy Fallacy’: the argument from deference has no power to support the intrinsic value of autonomy in comparison to the important evaluative significance of bare self-direction or what I (...)
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  15. Dale Dorsey (2008). Toward a Theory of the Basic Minimum. Politics, Philosophy and Economics 7 (4):423-445.
    Many have thought that an important feature of any just society is the establishment and maintenance of a suitable basic minimum: some set of welfare achievements, resources, capabilities, and so on that are guaranteed to all. However, if a basic minimum is a plausible requirement of justice, we must have a theory — a theory of what, precisely, the state owes in terms of these basic needs or achievements and what, precisely, is the proper structure of the obligation to provide (...)
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  16. Daniel Doviak (2009). Virtue, Satisfaction and Welfare Enhancement. Utilitas 21 (1):59-71.
    In Wayne Sumner argues that (1) as a matter of necessity, virtue is intrinsically prudentially rewarding, and (2) if all else is equal, the virtuous will fare better than the non-virtuous. In this article, I reproduce and criticize those arguments. I offer several objections to the argument for the first thesis; each objection makes the same basic point: contrary to what Sumner assumes, certain contingent facts over and above a person's being virtuous have to obtain if virtue is to issue (...)
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  17. E. Sonny Elizondo (forthcoming). The Virtues of Happiness: A Theory of the Good Life. [REVIEW] Philosophical Quarterly:pqv046.
    A Review of Paul Bloomfield's book _The Virtues of Happiness: A Theory of the Good Life_ (OUP 2014).
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  18. Guy Fletcher (2016). Objective List Theories. In The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being. Routledge 148-160.
    This chapter is divided into three parts. First I outline what makes something an objective list theory of well-being. I then go on to look at the motivations for holding such a view before turning to objections to these theories of well-being.
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  19. Guy Fletcher (2016). The Philosophy of Well-Being: An Introduction. Routledge.
    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, (...)
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  20. Guy Fletcher (ed.) (2016). The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being. Routledge.
    The concept of well-being is one of the oldest and most important topics in philosophy and ethics, going back to ancient Greek philosophy and Aristotle. Following the boom in happiness studies in the last few years it has moved to centre stage, grabbing media headlines and the attention of scientists, psychologists and economists. Yet little is actually known about well-being and it is an idea often poorly articulated. The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being provides a comprehensive, outstanding guide and (...)
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  21. Guy Fletcher (2013). A Fresh Start for the Objective-List Theory of Well-Being. Utilitas 25 (2):206-220.
    So-called theories of well-being (prudential value, welfare) are under-represented in discussions of well-being. I do four things in this article to redress this. First, I develop a new taxonomy of theories of well-being, one that divides theories in a more subtle and illuminating way. Second, I use this taxonomy to undermine some misconceptions that have made people reluctant to hold objective-list theories. Third, I provide a new objective-list theory and show that it captures a powerful motivation for the main competitor (...)
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  22. Guy Fletcher (2009). Rejecting Well-Being Invariabilism. Philosophical Papers 38 (1):21-34.
    This paper is an attempt to undermine a basic assumption of theories of well-being, one that I call well-being invariabilism. I argue that much of what makes existing theories of well-being inadequate stems from the invariabilist assumption. After distinguishing and explaining well-being invariabilism and well-being variabilism, I show that the most widely-held theories of well-being—hedonism, desire-satisfaction, and pluralist objective-list theories—presuppose invariabilism and that a large class of the objections to them arise because of it. My aim is to show that (...)
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  23. Jyl Gentzler (2004). Winner of The Philosophical Quarterly Essay Prize 2003: The Attractions and Delights of Goodness. Philosophical Quarterly 54 (216):353 - 367.
    What makes something good for me? Most contemporary philosophers argue that something cannot count as good for me unless I am in some way attracted to it, or take delight in it. However, subjectivist theories of prudential value face difficulties, and there is no consensus about how these difficulties should be resolved. Whether one opts for a hedonist or a desire-satisfaction account of prudential value, certain fundamental assumptions about human well-being must be abandoned. I argue that we should reconsider Plato's (...)
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  24. James Griffin (1986). Well-Being: Its Meaning, Measurement, and Moral Importance. Clarendon Press.
    "Well-being," "welfare," "utility," and "quality of life," all closely related concepts, are at the center of morality, politics, law, and economics. Griffin's book, while primarily a volume of moral philosophy, is relevant to all of these subjects. Griffin offers answers to three central questions about well-being: what is the best way to understand it, can it be measured, and where should it fit in moral and political thought. With its breadth of investigation and depth of insight, this work holds significance (...)
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  25. Daniel M. Haybron (2008). The Pursuit of Unhappiness: The Elusive Psychology of Well-Being. OUP Oxford.
    Dan Haybron presents an illuminating examination of well-being, drawing on important recent work in the science of happiness. He shows that we are remarkably prone to error in judgements of our own personal welfare, and suggests that we should rethink traditional assumptions about the good life and the good society.
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  26. Chris Heathwood (2014). Subjective Theories of Well-Being. In Ben Eggleston & Dale Miller (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Utilitarianism. Cambridge University Press 199-219.
    Subjective theories of well-being claim that how well our lives go for us is a matter of our attitudes towards what we get in life rather than the nature of the things themselves. This article explains in more detail the distinction between subjective and objective theories of well-being; describes, for each approach, some reasons for thinking it is true; outlines the main kinds of subjective theory; and explains their advantages and disadvantages.
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  27. Chris Heathwood (2010). Welfare. In John Skorupski (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Ethics. Routledge 645-655.
    An introduction to the philosophical debate over what makes a person's life go well. It attempts to clarify the question of welfare and to explore several of the most important answers, while displaying the main contours of the dialectic.
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  28. Chris Heathwood (2003). Review of Stephen Darwall, Welfare and Rational Care. [REVIEW] Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (4):615-617.
  29. Max Hocutt (2010). The Pursuit of Unhappiness: The Elusive Psychology of Well-Being – Daniel M. Haybron. Philosophical Quarterly 60 (239):433-434.
  30. Brad Hooker (2015). The Elements of Well-Being. Journal of Practical Ethics 3 (1):15-35.
    This essay contends that the constitutive elements of well-being are plural, partly objective, and separable. The essay argues that these elements are pleasure, friendship, significant achievement, important knowledge, and autonomy, but not either the appreciation of beauty or the living of a morally good life. The essay goes on to attack the view that elements of well-being must be combined in order for well-being to be enhanced. The final section argues against the view that, because anything important to say about (...)
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  31. Brad Hooker (1996). Does Moral Virtue Constitute a Benefit to the Agent? In Roger Crisp (ed.), How Should one Live? Oxford University Press
    Theories of individual well‐being fall into three main categories: hedonism, the desire‐fulfilment theory, and the list theory (which maintains that there are some things that can benefit a person without increasing the person's pleasure or desire‐fulfilment). The paper briefly explains the answers that hedonism and the desire‐fulfilment theory give to the question of whether being virtuous constitutes a benefit to the agent. Most of the paper is about the list theory's answer.
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  32. Thomas Hurka (2010). The Best Things in Life: A Guide to What Really Matters. Oxford University Press.
    Feeling good: four ways -- Finding that feeling -- The place of pleasure -- Knowing what's what -- Making things happen -- Being good -- Love and friendship -- Putting it together.
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  33. Shelly Kagan (2015). An Introduction to Ill-Being. Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics 4:261-88.
    Typically, discussions of well-being focus almost exclusively on the positive aspects of well-being, those elements which directly contribute to a life going well, or better. It is generally assumed, without comment, that there is no need to explicitly discuss ill-being as well—that is, the part of the theory of well-being that specifies the elements which directly contribute to a life going badly, or less well—since (or so it is thought) this raises no special difficulties or problems. But this common assumption (...)
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  34. Shelly Kagan (2009). Well-Being as Enjoying the Good. Philosophical Perspectives 23 (1):253-272.
  35. Antti Kauppinen (forthcoming). The Narrative Calculus. Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics 5.
    This paper examines systematically which features of a life story (or history) make it good for the subject herself - not aesthetically or morally good, but prudentially good. The tentative narrative calculus presented claims that the prudential narrative value of an event is a function of the extent to which it contributes to her concurrent and non-concurrent goals, the value of those goals, and the degree to which success in reaching the goals is deserved in virtue of exercising agency. The (...)
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  36. Antti Kauppinen (2015). Meaningfulness (Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Well-Being). In Guy Fletcher (ed.), Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Well-Being. Routledge
    This paper is an overview of contemporary theories of meaning in life and its relation to well-being.
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  37. Simon Keller (2009). Welfare as Success. Noûs 43 (4):656-683.
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  38. Richard Kraut (2011). Review of Thomas Hurka, The Best Things in Life: A Guide to What Really Matters. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2011 (1).
  39. Richard Kraut (2007). What is Good and Why: The Ethics of Well-Being. Harvard University Press.
    In search of good -- A Socratic question -- Flourishing and well-being -- Mind and value -- Utilitarianism -- Rawls and the priority of the right -- Right, wrong, should -- The elimination of moral rightness -- Rules and good -- Categorical imperatives -- Conflicting interests -- Whose good? The egoist's answer -- Whose good? The utilitarian's answer - Self-denial, self-love, universal concern -- Pain, self-love, and altruism -- Agent-neutrality and agent-relativity -- Good, conation, and pleasure -- "Good" and "good (...)
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  40. William Lauinger (2015). A Framework for Understanding Parental Well-Being. Philosophia 43 (3):847-868.
    Is being a parent prudentially good for one – that is to say, does it enhance one’s well-being? The social-scientific literature is curiously divided when it comes to this question. While some studies suggest that being a parent decreases most people’s well-being, other studies suggest that being a parent increases most people’s well-being. In this paper I will present a framework for thinking about the prudential benefits and costs of parenthood. Four elements are central to this framework: affect, friendship , (...)
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  41. William A. Lauinger (2013). The Strong-Tie Requirement and Objective-List Theories of Well-Being. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (5):953-968.
    Many philosophers with hedonistic sympathies (e.g., Mill, Sidgwick, Sumner, Feldman, Crisp, Heathwood, and Bradley) have claimed that well-being is necessarily experiential. Kagan once claimed something slightly different, saying that, although unexperienced bodily events can directly impact a person’s well-being, it is nonetheless true that any change in a person’s well-being must involve a change in her (i.e., either in her mind or in her body). Kagan elaborated by saying that a person’s well-being cannot float freely of her such that it (...)
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  42. Mark Lebar (2004). Good for You. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 85 (2):195–217.
    Theories of human well-being struggle with a tension between opposing intuitions: on the one hand, that our welfare is subjectively determined by us as individuals, and on the other that there are objective constraints on what can count as our good. I argue that accounts driven primarily by subjectivist intuitions fail to come to grips with the signific-ance of objectivist intuitions, by failing to explain where our objectivist intuitions come from and why they are important, and defend an alternative account (...)
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  43. James G. Lennox (1995). Health as an Objective Value. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 20 (5):499-511.
    Variants on two approaches to the concept of health have dominated the philosophy of medicine, here referred to as ‘reductionist’ and ‘relativis’. These two approaches share the basic assumption that the concept of health cannot be both based on an empirical biological foundation and be evaluative, and thus adopt either the view that it is ‘objective’ or evaluative. It is here argued that there are a subset of value concepts that are formed in recognition of certain fundamental facts about living (...)
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  44. Eden Lin (2015). Against Welfare Subjectivism. Noûs 50 (2):n/a-n/a.
    Subjectivism about welfare is the view that something is basically good for you if and only if, and to the extent that, you have the right kind of favorable attitude toward it under the right conditions. I make a presumptive case for the falsity of subjectivism by arguing against nearly every extant version of the view. My arguments share a common theme: theories of welfare should be tested for what they imply about newborn infants. Even if a theory is intended (...)
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  45. Shidan Lotfi (2011). A Theory Of Flourishing. Dissertation, Florida State University,
    The question "What is the good life?" is perhaps the most basic question in all of ethics. The four major paradigms of the good life that have been proposed by various philosophers are: (1) hedonism, (2) various forms of desire-satisfactionism, (3) objective value pluralism, and (4) the hybrid theory--i.e., a combination of (1) and (3). In my dissertation, I critique the leading accounts of flourishing (or wellbeing) and defend an objective value pluralistic theory of flourishing that is based on what (...)
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  46. Michelle Mason (2007). Richard Kraut, What is Good and Why: The Ethics of Well-Being. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2007 (11).
  47. David Mcnaughton & Piers Rawling (2001). Achievement, Welfare and Consequentialism. Analysis 61 (2):156–162.
    significant role for accomplishment thereby admits a ‘Trojan Horse’ (267).1 To abandon hedonism in favour of a conception of well-being that incorporates achievement is to take the first step down a slippery slope toward the collapse of the other two pillars of utilitarian morality: welfarism and consequentialism. We shall argue that Crisp’s arguments do not support these conclusions. We begin with welfarism. Crisp defines it thus: ‘Well-being is the only value. Everything good must be good for some being or beings’ (...)
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  48. Adam Morton (1996). Interpersonal Comparisons of Well-Being, Jon Elster and John E. Roemer . Cambridge University Press, 1991, X + 400 Pages and The Quality of Life, Martha C. Nussbaum and Amartya Sen . Oxford University Press, 1993, Xi + 453 Pages. [REVIEW] Economics and Philosophy 12 (1):101.
  49. Lennart Nordenfelt (2011). Health and Welfare in Animals and Humans. Acta Biotheoretica 59 (2):139-152.
    This paper contains a brief comparative analysis of some philosophical and scientific discourses on human and animal health and welfare, focusing mainly on the welfare of sentient animals. The paper sets forth two kinds of proposals for the analysis of animal welfare which do not appear in the contemporary philosophical discussion of human welfare, viz. the coping theory of welfare and the theory of welfare in terms of natural behaviour. These proposals are scrutinized in the light of some similar theories (...)
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  50. Martha Nussbaum (2001). Women and Human Development: The Capabilities Approach. Cambridge University Press.
    Only a broad concern for functioning and capability can do justice to the complex interrelationships between human striving and its material and social context. IV. CENTRAL HUMAN CAPABILITIES The most interesting worries about ...
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