David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophical Papers 39 (1):1-28 (2011)
There is a large literature in empirical psychology studying what psychologists call 'subjective well-being'. Only limited attention has been given to these results by philosophers who study what we call 'well-being'. In this paper, I assess the relevance of the empirical results to one philosophical theory of well-being, the desire satisfaction theory. According to the desire satisfaction theory, an individual's well-being is enhanced when her desires are satisfied. The empirical results, however, show that many of our desires are disappointed in the sense that the satisfaction of those desires does not make us any happier. So I develop an argument against the desire theory of well-being on the basis of these empirical results. I then provide a defense of the desire theory based on a careful examination of the measures of subjective well-being used by psychologists. I conclude that the empirical results do not threaten the desire theory of well-being
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References found in this work BETA
Aristotle (2006). Nicomachean Ethics. Oxford University Press.
Lisa Bortolotti (ed.) (2009). Philosophy and Happiness. Palgrave MacMillan.
Richard B. Brandt (1998). A Theory of the Good and the Right. Prometheus Books.
Daniel M. Haybron (2007). Do We Know How Happy We Are? On Some Limits of Affective Introspection and Recall. Noûs 41 (3):394–428.
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