Journal of Philosophy (No. 2):85-107. (2008)

Authors
Neera K. Badhwar
University of Oklahoma
Abstract
Someone who is reality-oriented and in touch with important features of her life is realistic. Realism has long been regarded as a hallmark of mental health and well-being, understood as happiness in an objectively worthy life. This view has also long invited the objection that ignorance can be bliss. Another objection, of recent vintage, comes from social psychology. Taylor and Brown claim that mildly deluded people are healthier and happier than highly realistic people. I argue against both objections that, properly understood, realism really is good for us. Being realistic can sometimes be disastrous, but being unrealistic is usually worse. Taylor and Brown’s interpretations of the empirical data are often unjustified, and their arguments weak or invalid.
Keywords Realism about self   mental health and happiness   Taylor and Brown's misinterpretations   invalid arguments
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