Well-being studies is an exciting and relatively new multi-disciplinary field, with data being gathered from different domains in order to improve social policies. In its reliance on a truncated account of well-being based implicitly on neoclassical economic assumptions, however, the field is deeply flawed. Departing from reductive accounts of well-being that exclude the normative or evaluative aspect of the concept and so impoverish the attendant conception of human life, this book offers a new perspective on what counts normatively as being well. In reconceptualising well-being holistically, it presents a fresh vista on how we can consider the meanings of human life in a manner that also serves as a source of constructive social critique. The book thus undertakes to invert the usual approach to the social sciences, in which the research is required to be objective in terms of methodology and subjective with regard to evaluative claims. Instead, the authors are deliberately objective about values in order to be more open to the subjectivities of human life. Happiness, Flourishing and the Good Life thus seeks to move away from economic considerations’ domination of all social spaces in order to understand the possibilities of well-being beyond instrumentalisation or commodification. A radical new approach to the human well-being, this book will appeal to philosophers, social theorists and political scientists and all who are interested in human happiness.
Table of Contents
1. Preliminaries for a Framework
2. Beyond Instrumentalisation
3. Activities and Desires
6. Evaluative Self-Awareness
7. Towards a Definition of Well-Being
Appendix: Understanding Well-Being Through Life Narratives
8. Towards Social Critique
Garrett Thomson is Chief Executive Officer of the Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace (GHFP) and Professor at the College of Wooster where he holds the Compton Chair of Philosophy. He is the author or co-author of 20 books, including On the Meaning of Life, Needs and Bacon to Kant. He co-edited the six-volumes of the Longman Standard History of Philosophy and is the co-author of Rethinking Secondary Education: A Human-Centred Approach and Understanding Peace Holistically.
Scherto Gill is Senior Fellow at the Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace (GHFP) Research Institute, Brighton, UK, Visiting Fellow at the University of Sussex, and Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts. She is also Board Member of Rising Global Peace Forum and Trustee of the Spirit of Humanity Forum. Scherto writes about peace, dialogue, education, and narrative research. Her most recent publications include Understanding Peace Holistically, Peacefulness: Being Peace and Making Peace, Education as Humanisation and Narrative Pedagogy.
Ivor Goodson has worked in universities in England, Canada, and the USA, and has held visiting positions in many countries. He is now Research Associate at the Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace (GHFP). Ivor has contributed over 50 books and 600 articles to the fields of education and social change. His most recent publications include The Routledge International Handbook on Narrative and Life History, Curriculum, Personal Narrative and the Social Future and Developing Narrative Theory: Life Histories and Personal Representation.