Happiness Donut: A Confucian Critique of Positive Psychology

Abstract

An empirically based version of the good life as proposed by positive psychology is a donut with something missing at the core--the moral map. This paper addresses ramifications of this lacuna, and suggests ways to narrow the gap between science and life. By applying an extended version of the self-regulation theory of Higgins to a cross cultural analysis of the good life as envisioned by Seligman and Confucius, respectively, this paper sheds light on the culturally encapsulated value judgments behind positive psychology, examines issues at stake in an empirically based version of the good life, and suggests, for future research, alternative approaches that may better fulfill the promises of positive psychology. 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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