Valerie Tiberius
University of Minnesota
Dan Haybron
Saint Louis University
ABSTRACT:This paper examines the norms that should guide policies aimed at promoting happiness or, more broadly, well-being. In particular, we take up the question of which conception of well-being should govern well-being policy, assuming some such policies to be legitimate. In answer, we lay out a case for ‘pragmatic subjectivism’: given widely accepted principles of respect for persons, well-being policy may not assume any view of well-being, subjectivist or objectivist. Rather, it should promote what its intended beneficiaries see as good for them: pleasure for hedonists, excellence for Aristotelians, etc. Specifically, well-being policy should promote citizens’ ‘personal welfare values’: those values—and not mere preferences—that individuals see as bearing on their well-being. Finally, we briefly consider how pragmatic subjectivism works in practice. While our discussion takes for granted the legitimacy of well-being policy, we suggest that pragmatic subjectivism strengthens the case for such policy.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/apa.2015.23
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 68,908
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
Political Liberalism by John Rawls. [REVIEW]Philip Pettit - 1994 - Journal of Philosophy 91 (4):215-220.
Preference and Urgency.T. M. Scanlon - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (19):655-669.

View all 20 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Can the Science of Well-Being Be Objective?Anna Alexandrova - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (2):421-445.
Democratising Measurement: Or Why Thick Concepts Call for Coproduction.Anna Alexandrova & Mark Fabian - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (1):1-23.
Theory Without Theories: Well-Being, Ethics, and Medicine.Jennifer Hawkins - 2021 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 46 (6):656-683.
No Theory-Free Lunches in Well-Being Policy.Gil Hersch - 2020 - Philosophical Quarterly 70 (278):43-64.

View all 20 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Practical Reason and the Stability Standard.Valerie Tiberius - 2002 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 5 (3):339-354.
Business Ethics: Defining the Twilight Zone. [REVIEW]Deon Nel, Leyland Pitt & Richard Watson - 1989 - Journal of Business Ethics 8 (10):781 - 791.
Avoiding Policy Failure.Steven Wallis - 2010 - Emergent Publications.
Policy Medicine Versus Policy Quackery: Economists Against the FDA.Daniel Klein - 2000 - Knowledge, Technology & Policy 13 (1):92-101.
Philosophy of Science and Public Policy.Patrick Suppes - 1984 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1984:3 - 13.
Non-Standard Models of Innovation.Paul Ceruzzi - 1998 - Knowledge, Technology & Policy 11 (3):40-49.


Added to PP index

Total views
102 ( #113,123 of 2,497,775 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #140,171 of 2,497,775 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes