1st Edition

Eudaimonic Ethics
The Philosophy and Psychology of Living Well

ISBN 9781138731530
Published February 6, 2017 by Routledge
184 Pages

USD $52.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

In this book, Lorraine Besser-Jones develops a eudaimonistic virtue ethics based on a psychological account of human nature. While her project maintains the fundamental features of the eudaimonistic virtue ethical framework—virtue, character, and well-being—she constructs these concepts from an empirical basis, drawing support from the psychological fields of self-determination and self-regulation theory. Besser-Jones’s resulting account of "eudaimonic ethics" presents a compelling normative theory and offers insight into what is involved in being a virtuous person and "acting well." This original contribution to contemporary ethics and moral psychology puts forward a provocative hypothesis of what an empirically-based moral theory would look like.

Table of Contents

1. Moderate Psychological Realism  2. Innate Psychological Needs  3. Sociability  4. Autonomy, Identification, and Morality  5. A Complex Account of Character  6. An Instrumental Theory of Virtue  7. Practical Reason, Goal Pursuit, and Acting Well  8. Value Fulfillment  9. Acting Well  10. Virtuous Agency

View More



Lorraine Besser-Jones is an assistant professor in the philosophy department at Middlebury College. She is the co-editor of the forthcoming Routledge Companion to Virtue Ethics (2014) and the author of many articles on moral psychology that have appeared in journals such as Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Philosophical Psychology, and Journal of Moral Philosophy.


"Besser-Jones' eudaimonic approach is refreshingly innovative, and it promises to move the relevant debates in new and fruitful directions. What sets Besser-Jones' account apart from many recent efforts is the skillfull and organic way in which empirical data both grounds and helps develop her view throughout the book." —Joseph Spino, Journal of Moral Philosophy

"Lorraine Besser-Jones constructs compelling and original accounts of well-being, character, and virtue from the ground up, starting from established empirical findings and arguing meticulously for detailed normative theses. All previous attempts by virtue ethicists to accommodate empirical insights have been patch-jobs. This book belongs on the shelf of any self-respecting moral psychologist – and in many classrooms." —Mark Alfano, Princeton University Center for Human Values

"Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above." —S. A. Mason, Concordia University, in CHOICE 

"Anybody interested in virtue ethics and/or moral psychology will find this book rewarding and well worth engaging with." Sven Nyholm, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"This impressively researched book is a welcome addition to a growing body of empirically informed work on virtue ethics...The book is clear, concise, and important—it should be read by anyone working in virtue ethics or moral psychology."— Christopher Toner, University of St. Thomas, American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly