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Summary Hybrid theories answer the explanatory question about well-being: what makes something a constituent of a subject's well-being? The most common hybrids combine elements of subjective and objective answers to this question. These subjective-objective hybrids claim that what makes something good for a subject is that (a) she has some positive attitude towards it, and (b) it is objectively good. However, other kinds of hybrid are possible. For example, subjective-subjective hybrids point to two or more kinds of pro-attitude. Moreover, hybrid theories need not claim that each different explanatory factor is a necessary condition of well-being. Thus a hybrid theory could claim that pleasure in worthless things counts for something, but pleasure in valuable things counts for more.
Key works Two influential early discussions are Appendix I in Parfit 1984 and Raz 1986. Adams 1999 Chapter 3 offers a fuller version of a subjective-objective hybrid, developing the idea that well-being consists in enjoyment of the excellent. Kagan 2009 identifies and discusses many issues involved in developing this sort of view, including difficulties specifying exactly what is involved in 'enjoyment'. Kraut 1994 proposes that well-being consists in loving things worth loving. Wolf 1997 argues that one aspect of a good life, its meaningfulness, consists in engagement in worthwhile projects. For an example of a subjective-subjective hybrid, see Hawkins 2010. For criticism of joint necessity hybrids, see Hooker 2015. Lauinger 2013 responds to one form of this criticism. For exploration of other forms of hybrid, see Sarch 2012.
Introductions An introductory survey of hybrid theories is provided in Woodard 2015.
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  1. Can I Get A Little Less Satisfaction, Please?Michael Plant - manuscript
    While life satisfaction theories (LSTs) of well-being are barely discussed in philosophy, they are popular among social scientists and wider society. When philosophers have discussed LSTs, they are taken to be a distinct alternative to the three canonical accounts of well-being—hedonism, desire theories, the objective list. This essay makes three main claims. First, on closer inspection, LSTs are indistinguishable from a type of desire theory—the global desire theory. Second, the life satisfaction/global desire theories are the only subjectivist accounts of well-being (...)
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  2. Structuring Wellbeing.Christopher Frugé - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Many questions about wellbeing involve metaphysical dependence. Does wellbeing depend on minds? Is wellbeing determined by distinct sorts of things? Is it determined differently for different subjects? However, we should distinguish two axes of dependence. First, there are the grounds that generate value. Second, there are the connections between the grounds and value which make it so that those grounds generate that value. Given these distinct axes of dependence, there are distinct dimensions to questions about the dependence of wellbeing. In (...)
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  3. The Value of Consciousness to the One Who Has It.Uriah Kriegel - forthcoming - In Geoffrey Lee & Adam Pautz (eds.), The Importance of Being Conscious. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    There is a strong intuition that a zombie’s life is never good or bad for the zombie. This suggests that consciousness has a special role in making life good or bad for the one who lives it. What explains this? In this paper, I consider five possible explanations of the intuition that a zombie’s life is never worth living, plus the option of rejecting the intuition. I point out the considerable costs of each option, though making clear which option strikes (...)
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  4. Mutual Recognition and Well-Being: What Is It for Relational Selves to Thrive?Arto Laitinen - forthcoming - In Onni Hirvonen & Heikki J. Koskinen (eds.), Theory and Practice of Recognition. New York, London: pp. ch 3..
    This paper argues that relations of mutual recognition (love, respect, esteem, trust) contribute directly and non-reductively to our flourishing as relational selves. -/- Love is important for the quality of human life. Not only do everyday experiences and analyses of pop culture and world literature attest to this; scientific research does as well. How exactly does love contribute to well-being? This chapter discusses the suggestion that it not only matters for the experiential quality of life, or for successful agency, but (...)
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  5. Well‐Being, Part 2: Theories of Well‐Being.Eden Lin - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (2):e12813.
    Theories of well-being purport to identify the features of lives, and of intervals within lives, in virtue of which some people are high in well-being and others are low in well-being. They also purport to identify the properties that make some events or states of affairs good for a person and other events or states of affairs bad for a person. This article surveys some of the main theories of well-being, with an emphasis on work published since the turn of (...)
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  6. The Pleasures of Tranquillity.Alex Voorhoeve - 2022 - Homo Oeconomicus.
    Epicurus posited that the best life involves the greatest pleasures. He also argued that it involves attaining tranquillity. Many commentators have expressed scepticism that these two claims are compatible. For, they argue, Epicurus’ tranquil life is so austere that it is hard to see how it could be maximally pleasurable. Here, I offer an Epicurean account of the pleasures of tranquillity. I also consider different ways of valuing lives from a hedonistic point of view. Benthamite hedonists value lives by the (...)
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  7. Defending a Hybrid of Objective List and Desire Theories of Well-Being.William Lauinger - 2021 - In Measuring Well-Being: Interdisciplinary Perspectives from the Social Sciences and Humanities. New York, NY, USA: pp. 229 - 256.
    This paper extends previous work of mine on a view of human well-being that is a hybrid of objective-list theories and desire theories. Though some of what I say traverses old ground, much of what I say is new – new, that is, not in terms of ultimate conclusions, but rather in terms of (a) routes toward these ultimate conclusions and (b) certain implications of these ultimate conclusions (e.g., implications concerning the measurement of well-being). There are two different visions of (...)
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  8. A Defense of Free-Roaming Cats From a Hedonist Account of Feline Well-Being.C. E. Abbate - 2020 - Acta Analytica 35 (3):439-461.
    There is a widespread belief that for their own safety and for the protection of wildlife, cats should be permanently kept indoors. Against this view, I argue that cat guardians have a duty to provide their feline companions with outdoor access. The argument is based on a sophisticated hedonistic account of animal well-being that acknowledges that the performance of species-normal ethological behavior is especially pleasurable. Territorial behavior, which requires outdoor access, is a feline-normal ethological behavior, so when a cat is (...)
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  9. An Opinionated Guide to “What Makes Someone’s Life Go Best”.Chris Heathwood - 2020 - In Andrea Sauchelli (ed.), Derek Parfit’s Reasons and Persons: An Introduction and Critical Inquiry. Routledge. pp. 94-113.
    Derek Parfit's monumental 1984 book Reasons and Persons contains a little appendix called "What Makes Someone's Life Go Best," a mini-essay on well-being that has taken on a life of its own apart from the body to which it is attached. This paper serves as a critical guide to that appendix. Topics include: the nature of pleasure and pain and its relation to theories of well-being; the unrestricted desire-fulfillment theory and the problem of remote desires; whether a person's actual preferences (...)
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  10. Well-Being as Value Fulfillment: How We Can Help Each Other to Live Well By Valerie Tiberius. [REVIEW]Polly Mitchell - 2020 - Analysis 80 (1):196-198.
    Well-Being as Value Fulfillment: How We Can Help Each Other to Live Well By TiberiusValerieOxford University Press, 2018. xii + 214 pp.
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  11. Well-Being as Harmony.Hasko von Kriegstein - 2020 - In David Kaspar (ed.), Explorations in Ethics. pp. 117-140.
    In this paper, I sketch out a novel theory of well-being according to which well-being is constituted by harmony between mind and world. The notion of harmony I develop has three aspects. First there is correspondence between mind and world in the sense that events in the world match the content of our mental states. Second there is positive orientation towards the world, meaning that we have pro-attitudes towards the world we find ourselves in. Third there is fitting response to (...)
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  12. On ‘Hybrid’ Theories of Personal Good.Thomas Hurka - 2019 - Utilitas 31 (4):450-462.
    ‘Hybrid’ theories of personal good, defended by e.g. Parfit, Wolf, and Kagan, equate it, not with a subjective state such as pleasure on its own, nor with an objective state such as knowledge on its own, but with a whole that supposedly combines the two. These theories apply Moore's principle of organic unities, which says the value of a whole needn't equal the sum of the values its parts would have by themselves. This allows them, defenders say, to combine the (...)
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  13. Taking Pleasure in the Good and Well-Being: The Harmless Pleasures Objection.James Delaney - 2018 - Philosophia 46 (2):281-294.
    Well-being is that which is non-instrumentally good for a person. It is identical to how well someone's life goes. There are three main theories of well-being: hedonism, desire-fulfillment, and objective list theories. Each of these theories is subject to criticism, which has led some philosophers to posit a hybrid theory in which well-being is defined as taking pleasure in objective goods. One problem that comes with such an account is the possibility of what I will call harmless pleasures; that is, (...)
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  14. The Disjunctive Hybrid Theory of Prudential Value: An Inclusive Approach to the Good Life.Joseph Van Weelden - 2018 - Dissertation, McGill University
    In this dissertation, I argue that all extant theories of prudential value are either a) enumeratively deficient, in that they are unable to accommodate everything that, intuitively, is a basic constituent of prudential value, b) explanatorily deficient, in that they are at least sometimes unable to offer a plausible story about what makes a given thing prudentially valuable, or c) both. In response to the unsatisfactory state of the literature, I present my own account, the Disjunctive Hybrid Theory or DHT. (...)
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  15. Scales for Scope: A New Solution to the Scope Problem for Pro-Attitude-Based Well-Being.Hasko von Kriegstein - 2018 - Utilitas 30 (4):417-438.
    Theories of well-being that give an important role to satisfied pro-attitudes need to account for the fact that, intuitively, the scope of possible objects of pro-attitudes seems much wider than the scope of things, states, or events that affect our well-being. Parfit famously illustrated this with his wish that a stranger may recover from an illness: it seems implausible that the stranger’s recovery would constitute a benefit for Parfit. There is no consensus in the literature about how to rule out (...)
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  16. VIII—Epicurus on Pleasure, a Complete Life, and Death: A Defence.Alex Voorhoeve - 2018 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 118 (3):225-253.
    Epicurus argued that the good life is the pleasurable life. He also argued that ‘death is nothing to us’. These claims appear in tension. For if pleasure is good, then it seems that death is bad when it deprives us of deeply enjoyable time alive. Here, I offer an Epicurean view of pleasure and the complete life which dissolves this tension. This view is, I contend, more appealing than critics of Epicureanism have allowed, in part because it assigns higher value (...)
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  17. The Elements of Well-Being.Brad Hooker - 2015 - 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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  18. Hybrid Theories.Christopher Woodard - 2015 - In Guy Fletcher (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being. Routledge. pp. 161-174.
    This chapter surveys hybrid theories of well-being. It also discusses some criticisms, and suggests some new directions that philosophical discussion of hybrid theories might take.
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  19. Hybrid Theories.Christopher Woodard - 2015 - In G. Fletcher (ed.), The Routledge handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being.
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  20. A New Problem with the Capabilities Approach.Thom Brooks - 2014 - The Harvard Review of Philosophy 20:100-106.
    Martha Nussbaum’s “influential capabilities approach” offers us a powerful, universal standard of justice. The approach builds off of pioneering work by Amartya Sen in economic development. Much of the contemporary interest in the capabilities approach has focused upon how we might spell out a list of precisely which capabilities must be made universally available and protected, a list that Sen has not provided himself. Nussbaum’s list of capabilities is arguably the most successful attempt at defining these capabilities. In this paper, (...)
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  21. The Missing-Desires Objection to Hybrid Theories of Well-Being.William Lauinger - 2013 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (2):270-295.
    Many philosophers have claimed that we might do well to adopt a hybrid theory of well-being: a theory that incorporates both an objective-value constraint and a pro-attitude constraint. Hybrid theories are attractive for two main reasons. First, unlike desire theories of well-being, hybrid theories need not worry about the problem of defective desires. This is so because, unlike desire theories, hybrid theories place an objective-value constraint on well-being. Second, unlike objectivist theories of well-being, hybrid theories need not worry about being (...)
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  22. Well-Being and Theism: Linking Ethics to God.William A. Lauinger - 2012 - Continuum.
    Well-Being and Theism is divided into two distinctive parts. The first part argues that desire-fulfillment welfare theories fail to capture the 'good' part of ‘good for’, and that objective list welfare theories fail to capture the 'for' part of ‘good for’. Then, with the aim of capturing both of these parts of ‘good for’, a hybrid theory–one which places both a value constraint and a desire constraint on well-being–is advanced. Lauinger then defends this proposition, which he calls the desire-perfectionism theory, (...)
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  23. Multi‐Component Theories of Well‐Being and Their Structure.Alexander F. Sarch - 2012 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93 (4):439-471.
    The ‘adjustment strategy’ currently seems to be the most common approach to incorporating objective elements into one's theory of well‐being. These theories face a certain problem, however, which can be avoided by a different approach – namely, that employed by ‘partially objective multi‐component theories.’ Several such theories have recently been proposed, but the question of how to understand their mathematical structure has not been adequately addressed. I argue that the most mathematically simple of these multi‐component theories fails, so I proceed (...)
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  24. A Theory Of Flourishing.Shidan Lotfi - 2011 - 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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  25. Structuring Ends.Jon Garthoff - 2010 - Philosophia 38 (4):691-713.
    There is disagreement among contemporary theorists regarding human well-being. On one hand there are “substantive good” views, according to which the most important elements of a person’s well-being result from her nature as a human, rational, and/or sentient being. On the other hand there are “agent-constituted” views, which contend that a person’s well-being is constituted by her particular aims, desires, and/or preferences. Each approach captures important features of human well-being, but neither can provide a complete account: agent-constituted theories have difficulty (...)
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  26. The Subjective Intuition.Jennifer S. Hawkins - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 148 (1):61 - 68.
    Theories of well-being are typically divided into subjective and objective. Subjective theories are those which make facts about a person’s welfare depend on facts about her actual or hypothetical mental states. I am interested in what motivates this approach to the theory of welfare. The contemporary view is that subjectivism is devoted to honoring the evaluative perspective of the individual, but this is both a misleading account of the motivations behind subjectivism, and a vision that dooms subjective theories to failure. (...)
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  27. Well-Being as Enjoying the Good.Shelly Kagan - 2009 - Philosophical Perspectives 23 (1):253-272.
  28. Happiness and Meaning: Two Aspects of the Good Life.Susan Wolf - 1997 - Social Philosophy and Policy 14 (1):207.
    The topic of self-interest raises large and intractable philosophical questions–most obviously, the question “In what does self-interest consist?” The concept, as opposed to the content of self-interest, however, seems clear enough. Self-interest is interest in one's own good. To act self-interestedly is to act on the motive of advancing one's own good. Whether what one does actually is in one's self-interest depends on whether it actually does advance, or at least, minimize the decline of, one's own good. Though it may (...)
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  29. Desire and the Human Good.Richard Kraut - 1994 - Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 68 (2):315.
    When we compare contemporary moral philosophy with the well-known moral systems of earlier centuries, we should be struck by the fact that a certain assumption about human well being that is now widely taken for granted was universally rejected in the past. The contemporary moral climate predisposes us to be pluralistic about the human good, whereas earlier systems of ethics embraced a conception of well being that we would now call narrow and restrictive. One way to convey the sort of (...)
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  30. The Morality of Freedom.Joseph Raz - 1986 - Oxford University Press.
    Ranging over central issues of morals and politics and the nature of freedom and authority, this study examines the role of value-neutrality, rights, equality, ...
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  31. Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
    Challenging, with several powerful arguments, some of our deepest beliefs about rationality, morality, and personal identity, Parfit claims that we have a false view about our own nature. It is often rational to act against our own best interersts, he argues, and most of us have moral views that are self-defeating. We often act wrongly, although we know there will be no one with serious grounds for complaint, and when we consider future generations it is very hard to avoid conclusions (...)
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