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Profile: Dan Haybron (Saint Louis University)
  1. Dan Haybron, Aristotelian Virtue and the Nature of Well-Being.
    A critique of perfectionist accounts of well-being, focusing on Aristotelian theories. While such views have more going for them than most critics have realized, virtue or excellence still forms no fundamental part of well-being. Seeing why illuminates interesting points about the nature of well-being. Draft 10/06/06; in review (comments most welcome).
     
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  2. Dan Haybron, Diagram: The Good Life and Related Concepts.
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  3. Dan Haybron, The Meanings of ‘Happiness’.
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  4. Dan Haybron, Theories of Happiness Overview.
     
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  5. Dan Haybron, Theories of Well-Being Overview.
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  6. Dan Haybron, The Pursuit of Unhappiness: Well-Being and the Limits of Personal Authority.
     
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  7. Dan Haybron, Consistency of Character and the Character of Evil.
    We can distinguish the evil person in two ways. One is to pick out some trait, or narrow cluster of traits, and argue that individuals are evil if they possess those traits to a sufficiently extreme degree. Call theories that characterize evil in this manner extremity views. The second method takes evil to consist in being vicious, not just in one respect, but thoroughly or consistently. Call this the consistency approach. Thus understood, evil persons lack any significant moral virtues, having (...)
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  8. Dan Haybron, Do We Know How Happy We Are?
    This paper aims to show that widespread, serious errors in the self-assessment of affect are a genuine possibility—one worth taking very seriously. For we are subject to a variety of errors concerning the character of our present and past affective states, or “affective ignorance.” For example, some affects, particularly moods, can greatly affect the quality of our experience even when we are unable to discern them. I note several implications of these arguments. First, we may be less competent pursuers of (...)
     
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  9. Dan Haybron, Life Satisfaction, Ethical Reflection, and the Science of Happiness.
    Life satisfaction is widely considered to be a central aspect of human welfare. Many have identified happiness with it, and some maintain that well-being consists largely or wholly in being satisfied with one’s life. Empirical research on well-being relies heavily on life satisfaction studies. The paper contends that life satisfaction attitudes are less important, and matter for different reasons, than is widely believed. For such attitudes are appropriately governed by ethical norms and are perspectival in ways that make the relationship (...)
     
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  10. Dan Haybron, Philosophy and the Science of Subjective Well-Being.
    The Renaissance of Prudential Psychology Philosophical reflection on the good life in coming decades will likely owe a tremendous debt to the burgeoning science of subjective well-being and the pioneers, like Ed Diener, who brought it to fruition. While the psychological dimensions of human welfare now occupy a prominent position in the social sciences, they have gotten surprisingly little attention in the recent philosophical literature. The situation appears to be changing, however, as philosophers inspired by the empirical research begin to (...)
     
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  11. Dan Haybron, The Pursuit of Unhappiness.
    Modern reflection about the good life and the good society has been dominated by a spirit of liberal optimism, according to which people typically know what’s good for them and make prudent choices in pursuit of their interests. As a result, people tend to do best, and pretty well at that, when given the greatest possible freedom to live as they wish. This appealing doctrine rests on a bold assumption about human psychology: namely, that people have a high degree of (...)
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  12. Dan Haybron, Two Philosophical Problems in the Study of Happiness.
    In this paper I discuss two philosophical issues that hold special interest for empirical researchers studying happiness. The first issue concerns the question of how the psychological notion(s) of happiness invoked in empirical research relates to those traditionally employed by philosophers. The second concerns the question of how we ought to conceive of happiness, understood as a purely psychological phenomenon. With respect to the first, I argue that ‘happiness’, as used in the philosophical literature, has three importantly different senses that (...)
     
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  13. Dan Haybron (forthcoming). Happiness. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    There are roughly two philosophical literatures on “happiness,” each corresponding to a different sense of the term. One uses ‘happiness’ as a value term, roughly synonymous with well-being or flourishing. The other body of work uses the word as a purely descriptive psychological term, akin to ‘depression’ or ‘tranquility’. An important project in the philosophy of happiness is simply getting clear on what various writers are talking about: what are the important meanings of the term and how do they connect? (...)
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  14. Daniel M. Haybron (forthcoming). Review: Ed Diener, Richard Lucas, Uli Schimmack, and John Helliwell, Well-Being for Public Policy. [REVIEW] .
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  15. Daniel M. Haybron (2013). Diener , Ed ; Lucas , Richard ; Schimmack , Uli ; and Helliwell , John . Well-Being for Public Policy . New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. Pp. 245. $41.95 (Cloth). [REVIEW] Ethics 124 (1):218-227.
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  16. Daniel M. Haybron (2013). Happiness: A Very Short Introduction. Oup Oxford.
    Most of us spend our lives striving for happiness. But what is it? How important is it? How can we (and should we) pursue it? In this Very Short Introduction Dan Haybron provides a comprehensive look at the nature of happiness. By using examples, Haybron considers how we measure happiness, what makes us happy, and considers its subjective nature.
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  17. Daniel M. Haybron (2013). The Proper Pursuit of Happiness. Res Philosophica 90 (3):387-411.
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  18. Daniel M. Haybron & Anna Alexandrova (2013). Paternalism in Economics. In Christian Coons Michael Weber (ed.), Paternalism: Theory and Practice. Cambridge University Press. 157--177.
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  19. Daniel M. Haybron (2012). Review: Nicholas White,A Brief History of Happiness. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (3):729-732.
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  20. Anna Alexandrova & Daniel M. Haybron (2011). 5 High-Fidelity Economics. In J. B. Davis & D. W. Hands (eds.), Elgar Companion to Recent Economic Methodology. Edward Elgar Publishers. 94.
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  21. Daniel M. Haybron (2011). Taking the Satisfaction (and the Life) Out of Life Satisfaction. Philosophical Explorations 14 (3):249-262.
    The science of well-being studies an evaluative kind, well-being, which raises natural worries about the ability of empirical research to deliver. This paper argues that well-being research can provide important information about how people are doing without entangling itself very deeply in controversial normative claims. Most life satisfaction research, for instance, purports only to tell us how people see their lives going relative to what they care about ? something most people can agree is important, whatever their theory of well-being. (...)
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  22. Daniel M. Haybron (2009). Economics and Happiness: Framing the Analysis , Edited by Luigino Bruni and Pier Luigi Porta. Cambridge University Press, 2005, XII + 366 Pages. [REVIEW] Economics and Philosophy 25 (2):217-223.
  23. Dan Haybron (2008). Happiness, the Self and Human Flourishing. Utilitas 20 (1):21-49.
    It may even be held that [the intellect] is the true self of each, inasmuch as it is the dominant and better part; and therefore it would be a strange thing if a man should choose to live not his own life but the life of some other than himself. Moreover . . . that which is best and most pleasant for each creature is that which is proper to the nature of each; accordingly the life of the intellect is (...)
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  24. Daniel M. Haybron (2008). The Pursuit of Unhappiness: The Elusive Psychology of Well-Being. OUP Oxford.
    The pursuit of happiness is a defining theme of the modern era. But what if people aren't very good at it? This and related questions are explored in this book, the first comprehensive philosophical treatment of happiness in the contemporary psychological sense. In these pages, Dan Haybron argues that people are probably less effective at judging, and promoting, their own welfare than common belief has it. For the psychological dimensions of well-being, particularly our emotional lives, are far richer and more (...)
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  25. Dan Haybron (2007). Well-Being and Virtue. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 2 (2).
    Perfectionist views of well-being maintain that well-being ultimately consists, at least partly, in excellence or virtue. This paper argues that such views are untenable, focusing on Aristotelian perfectionism. The argument appeals, first, to intuitive counterexamples to perfectionism. A second worry is that it seems impossible to interpret perfection in a manner that yields both a plausible view of well-being and a strong link between morality and well-being. Third, perfectionist treatments of pleasure are deeply implausible. Fourth, perfectionism rests on a misunderstanding (...)
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  26. Daniel M. Haybron (2007). Do We Know How Happy We Are? On Some Limits of Affective Introspection and Recall. Noûs 41 (3):394–428.
    This paper aims to show that widespread, serious errors in the self-assessment of affect are a genuine possibility-one worth taking very seriously. For we are subject to a variety of errors concerning the character of our present and past affective states, or "affective ignorance." For example, some affects, particularly moods, can greatly affect the quality of our experience even when we are unable to discern them. I note several implications of these arguments. First, we may be less competent pursuers of (...)
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  27. Daniel Haybron (2006). Pursuing Unhappiness. The Philosophers' Magazine 35 (35):62-65.
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  28. Daniel M. Haybron (2005). On Being Happy or Unhappy. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (2):287–317.
    The psychological condition of being happy is best understood as a matter of a person’s emotional condition. I elucidate the notion of an emotional condition by introducing two distinctions concerning affect, and argue that this “emotional state” view is probably superior on intuitive and substantive grounds to theories that identify happiness with pleasure or life satisfaction. Life satisfaction views, for example, appear to have deflationary consequences for happiness’ value. This would make happiness an unpromising candidate for the central element in (...)
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  29. Daniel M. Haybron (2003). What Do We Want From a Theory of Happiness? Metaphilosophy 34 (3):305-329.
    In this paper I defend a methodology for theorizing about happiness conceived as a type of psychological state. I reject three methods: conceptual or linguistic analysis; scientific naturalism—deferring to our best scientific theories of happiness; and what I call the “pure normative adequacy” approach, according to which the best conception of happiness is the one that best fulfills a particular role in moral theory (e.g., utility). The concept of happiness is foremost a folk notion employed by laypersons who have various (...)
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  30. Dan Haybron (2002). Moral Monsters and Saints. The Monist 85 (2):260-284.
    This paper argues for the moral significance of the notion of an evil person or character. First, I argue that accounts of evil character ought to support a robust bad/evil distinction; yet existing theories cannot plausibly do so. Consequentialist and related theories also fail to account for some crucial properties of evil persons. Second, I sketch an intuitively plausible “affective-motivational” account of evil character. Third, I argue that the notion of evil character, thus conceived, denotes a significant moral category. It (...)
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  31. Daniel M. Haybron (2001). Happiness and Pleasure. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (3):501-528.
  32. Daniel M. Haybron (2001). Happiness, Death, and the Remainder of Life. Philosophical Inquiry 23 (1-2):172-174.
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  33. Daniel M. Haybron (2000). The Causal and Explanatory Role of Information Stored in Connectionist Networks. Minds and Machines 10 (3):361-380.
    In this paper I defend the propriety of explaining the behavior of distributed connectionist networks by appeal to selected data stored therein. In particular, I argue that if there is a problem with such explanations, it is a consequence of the fact that information storage in networks is superpositional, and not because it is distributed. I then develop a ``proto-account'''' of causation for networks, based on an account of Andy Clark''s, that shows even superpositionality does not undermine information-based explanation. Finally, (...)
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  34. Dan Haybron (1999). Evil Characters. American Philosophical Quarterly 36 (2):131 - 148.
    In this paper I examine the psychological traits that can play a constitutive role in having an evil character, using a recent affect-based account by Colin McGinn as my starting point. I distinguish several such traits and defend the importance of both affect and action-based approaches. I then argue that someone who possesses these characteristics to the greatest possible extent—the purely evil individual—can actually be less depraved than one whose character is not so thoroughly penetrated by such traits. To illustrate (...)
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