The subjective intuition

Philosophical Studies 148 (1):61 - 68 (2010)
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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. I suggest that we need to revisit and reinstate certain features of traditional hedonism, in particular the idea that felt experience plays a role that no theory of welfare can afford to ignore. I then offer a sketch of a theory that is subjective in my preferred sense and avoids the worst sins of hedonism as well as the problems generated by the contemporary constraints of subjective theorists.

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Jennifer Hawkins
Duke University

Citations of this work

Hybrid Theories.Christopher Woodard - 2015 - In Guy Fletcher (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being. Routledge. pp. 161-174.
Can Subjectivism Account for Degrees of Wellbeing?Willem van der Deijl & Huub Brouwer - 2021 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 24 (3):767-788.
Desire Satisfaction Theories and the Problem of Depression.Andrew Spaid - 2020 - Dissertation, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
The Nature of Desire.Federico Lauria & Julien Deonna (eds.) - 2017 - New York, USA: Oxford University Press.

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References found in this work

Welfare, happiness, and ethics.L. W. Sumner - 1996 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Moral Realism and the Foundations of Ethics.David Owen Brink - 1989 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Well-being: its meaning, measurement, and moral importance.James Griffin - 1986 - Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Clarendon Press.

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