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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. Well-Being and Excellence.Robert Adams - unknown
    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. Mapping Human Values: Enhancing Social Marketing Through Obituary Data-Mining.Mark Alfano, Andrew Higgins & Jacob Levernier - forthcoming - 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. Still Lives: The History and Philosophy of Mourning Texts.Veronica Alfano & Mark Alfano - forthcoming - 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. The Role of Epistemic Virtue in the Realization of Basic Goods.Baril Anne - 2016 - Episteme 13 (4):379-395.
  5. Two Cheers for Capabilities.Richard Arneson - manuscript
    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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  6. Human Flourishing Versus Desire Satisfaction.Richard Arneson - 1999 - 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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  7. Thomas Hurka, The Best Things in Life: A Guide to What Really Matters. [REVIEW]Gwen Bradford - 2011 - Journal of Value Inquiry 45 (4):487-490.
  8. Well-Being and Death.Ben Bradley - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
  9. Alasdair Macintyre on the Good Life and the 'Narrative Model'.James Bradley - 1990 - Heythrop Journal 31 (3):324–326.
  10. The Experience Machine.Ben Bramble - 2016 - 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. The Retrieval of Ethics.Talbot Brewer - 2009 - 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. Quirky Desires and Well-Being.Donald W. Bruckner - 2016 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 10 (2):1-34.
    According to a desire-satisfaction theory of well-being, the satisfaction of one’s desires is what promotes one’s well-being. Against this, it is frequently objected that some desires are beyond the pale of well-being relevance, for example: the desire to count blades of grass, the desire to collect dryer lint and the desire to make handwritten copies of War and Peace, to name a few. I argue that the satisfaction of such desires – I call them “quirky” desires – does indeed contribute (...)
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  13. How Should One Live?: Essays on the Virtues.Roger Crisp (ed.) - 1996 - 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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  14. Welfare and Rational Care.Stephen Darwall - 2002 - Princeton University Press.
    What kind of life best ensures human welfare? Since the ancient Greeks, this question has been as central to ethical philosophy as to ordinary reflection. But what exactly is welfare? This question has suffered from relative neglect. And, as Stephen Darwall shows, it has done so at a price. Presenting a provocative new "rational care theory of welfare," Darwall proves that a proper understanding of welfare fundamentally changes how we think about what is best for people.Most philosophers have assumed that (...)
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  15. Welfare, Autonomy, and the Autonomy Fallacy.Dale Dorsey - 2015 - 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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  16. Toward a Theory of the Basic Minimum.Dale Dorsey - 2008 - 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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  17. Virtue, Satisfaction and Welfare Enhancement.Daniel Doviak - 2009 - 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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  18. The Virtues of Happiness: A Theory of the Good Life. [REVIEW]E. Sonny Elizondo - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (262):181-183.
    A Review of Paul Bloomfield's book _The Virtues of Happiness: A Theory of the Good Life_ (OUP 2014).
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  19. Objective List Theories.Guy Fletcher - 2016 - In The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being. Routledge. pp. 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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  20. The Philosophy of Well-Being: An Introduction.Guy Fletcher - 2016 - 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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  21. The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being.Guy Fletcher (ed.) - 2015 - 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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  22. A Fresh Start for the Objective-List Theory of Well-Being.Guy Fletcher - 2013 - 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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  23. Rejecting Well-Being Invariabilism.Guy Fletcher - 2009 - 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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  24. Winner of The Philosophical Quarterly Essay Prize 2003: The Attractions and Delights of Goodness.Jyl Gentzler - 2004 - 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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  25. Well-Being: Its Meaning, Measurement, and Moral Importance.James Griffin - 1986 - 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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  26. The Pursuit of Unhappiness: The Elusive Psychology of Well-Being.M. Haybron Daniel - 2008 - Oxford University Press.
    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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  27. Subjective Theories of Well-Being.Chris Heathwood - 2014 - In Ben Eggleston & Dale Miller (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Utilitarianism. Cambridge University Press. pp. 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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  28. Welfare.Chris Heathwood - 2010 - In John Skorupski (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Ethics. Routledge. pp. 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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  29. Review of Stephen Darwall, Welfare and Rational Care. [REVIEW]Chris Heathwood - 2003 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (4):615-617.
  30. Well-Being is Survival.Bach Ho - manuscript
    This paper defends the view that intrinsic benefit to a human being consists exclusively in survival. It takes as its point of departure the neo-Aristotelian view that inquiry into intrinsic benefit to a human being should take place within a wider theory of intrinsic benefit to living things, generally. The paper first argues that the neo-Aristotelian view that intrinsic benefit to a living thing consists in flourishing as a member of its species, is mistaken. Rather, intrinsic benefit to a living (...)
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  31. The Pursuit of Unhappiness: The Elusive Psychology of Well-Being – Daniel M. Haybron.Max Hocutt - 2010 - Philosophical Quarterly 60 (239):433-434.
  32. 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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  33. Does Moral Virtue Constitute a Benefit to the Agent?Brad Hooker - 1996 - 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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  34. The Best Things in Life: A Guide to What Really Matters.Thomas Hurka - 2010 - 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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  35. An Introduction to Ill-Being.Shelly Kagan - 2015 - 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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  36. Well-Being as Enjoying the Good.Shelly Kagan - 2009 - Philosophical Perspectives 23 (1):253-272.
  37. Meaningfulness (Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Well-Being).Antti Kauppinen - 2015 - 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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  38. The Narrative Calculus.Antti Kauppinen - 2015 - 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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  39. Welfare as Success.Simon Keller - 2009 - Noûs 43 (4):656-683.
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  40. Review of Thomas Hurka, The Best Things in Life: A Guide to What Really Matters[REVIEW]Richard Kraut - 2011 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2011 (1).
  41. What is Good and Why: The Ethics of Well-Being.Richard Kraut - 2007 - 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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  42. The Morality-Welfare Circularity Problem.William Lauinger - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-23.
    Various moral theories are essentially welfare-involving in that they appeal to the promotion or the respect of well-being in accounting for the moral rightness of at least some acts. Further, various theories of well-being are essentially morality-involving in that they construe well-being in a way that essentially involves morality in some form or other. It seems that, for any moral theory that is essentially welfare-involving and that relies on a theory of well-being that is essentially morality-involving, a circularity problem may (...)
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  43. A Framework for Understanding Parental Well-Being.William Lauinger - 2015 - 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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  44. The Strong-Tie Requirement and Objective-List Theories of Well-Being.William A. Lauinger - 2013 - 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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  45. Good for You.Mark Lebar - 2004 - 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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  46. Health as an Objective Value.James G. Lennox - 1995 - 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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  47. Against Welfare Subjectivism.Eden Lin - 2017 - Noûs 51 (2):354-377.
    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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  48. 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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  49. Morality, Objective Value and Living a Meaningful Life: A Reply to Steven M. Cahn and Christine Vitrano's Essay ‘Living Well’.Max Loxterkamp - 2016 - Think 15 (43):117-123.
    In their essay 'Living Well', Steven M. Cahn and Christine Vitrano argue that to live a meaningful life all we must do is find personal satisfaction and enjoyment. They argue against other philosophers who claim that 'objectively valuable' activities are what make a life meaningful. There are two problems with what they argue in the essay. The first relates to a particular criticism they make of some of those philosophers taking the contrary view, in regards to the difficulty those philosophers (...)
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  50. Richard Kraut, What is Good and Why: The Ethics of Well-Being[REVIEW]Michelle Mason - 2007 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2007 (11).
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