The role of well‐being

Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):269–294 (2004)
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Abstract

"Well-being" signifies the good life, the life which is good for the person whose life it is. I have argued that well-being consists in a wholehearted and successful pursuit of valuable relationships and goals. This view, a little modified, is defended , but the main aim of the article is to consider the role of well-being in practical thought. In particular I will examine a suggestion which says that when we care about people, and when we ought to care about people, what we do, or ought to, care about is their well-being. The suggestion is indifferent to who cares and who is cared for. People may care, perhaps ought to care, about themselves, and they may care, perhaps ought to care, about people with whom they have, or ought to have special bonds, and finally they may care, perhaps ought to care, about other people generally. In all cases what they care, or ought to care, about is the wellbeing of the relevant people, themselves or others. I will argue that the suggestion is misleading, and the role of well-being in both personal and ethical life is much more modest.

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Joseph Raz
Columbia University

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