In Richard Estes & Joseph Sirgy (eds.), The Pursuit of Well-Being: The Untold Global History. Springer. pp. 31-57 (2017)

Dan Weijers
University of Waikato
This chapter provides a brief historical overview of western philosophical views about human well-being from the eighth century BCE to the middle of the twentieth century. Different understandings of the concept of well-being are explained, including our preferred understanding of well-being as the subjective states and objective conditions that make our lives go well for us. While this review is necessarily incomplete, we aim to discuss some of the most salient and influential contributions to our subject. To that end, we discuss some key views from ancient Greece, including the aristocratic values that were considered central to leading a good life, notions of personal and more expansive harmony as they key to well-being, and the idea that the experience of pleasure is all we should really care about. We also explain some of the major religious conceptions of the good life, and their progression through the middle ages and beyond. More recent secular conceptions of wellbeing, including several views on the importance of personal and public happiness. Finally, we discuss views to the effect that happiness is not enough for the good life and that we should strive for loftier goals.
Keywords Happiness  Pleasure  Eudaimonia  Well-being  History of Well-being  Western Conceptions of Well-being
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References found in this work BETA

Utilitarianism.J. S. Mill - 1861 - Oxford University Press UK.
The Morality of Happiness.Julia Annas - 1993 - Oxford University Press.
The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Max Weber.C. D. Burns - 1930 - International Journal of Ethics 41 (1):119-120.

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