Research on well-being: Some advice from Jeremy Bentham

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 36 (3):330-354 (2006)
Jeremy Bentham provided a comprehensive list of the sources of pleasure and pain, rather in the manner of modern researchers into human well-being. He explicitly used the term well-being and made both qualitative and quantitative proposals for its measurement. Bentham insisted that the measurement of well-being should be firmly based on the concerns and subjective valuations of those directly concerned, in the context of a liberal society. Those who wished to superimpose other judgements were dismissed as "ipsedixitists." He also addressed, though of course could not solve, some of the measurement problems more recently tackled by "neo-Benthamites." The paper concludes that many of Bentham’s observations about the measurement of well-being are still relevant to issues in current research. Key Words: utilitarianism • Bentham • well-being • capabilities.
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DOI 10.1177/0048393106289795
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