The Philosophy of Well-Being An Introduction
Well-being occupies a central role in ethics and political philosophy, including in major theories such as utilitarianism. It also extends far beyond philosophy: recent studies into the science and psychology of well-being have propelled the topic to centre stage, and governments spend millions on promoting it. We are encouraged to adopt modes of thinking and behaviour that support individual well-being or 'wellness'.
What is well-being? Which theories of well-being are most plausible? In this rigorous and comprehensive introduction to the topic, Guy Fletcher unpacks and assesses these questions and many more, including:
- Are pleasure and pain the only things that affect well-being?
- Is desire-fulfilment the only thing that makes our lives go well?
- Can something be good for someone who does not desire it?
- Is well-being fundamentally connected to a distinctive human nature?
- Is happiness all that makes our lives go well?
- Is death necessarily bad for us?
- How is the well-being of a whole life related to well-being at particular times?
Annotated further reading and study and comprehension questions follow each chapter, and a glossary of key terms is also included, making The Philosophy of Well-Being essential reading for students of ethics and political philosophy. This title is also suitable for those in related disciplines such as psychology, politics and sociology.
2. Desire-fulfillment Theory
3. Objective List theories
4. Perfectionist theories of well-being
5. The Happiness Theory of Well-Being
6. Hybrid Theories of Well-Being
7. Well-Being and the Shape of a Life
8. Well-Being and Death
List of Cases
'An excellent advanced introduction to philosophical theories of well-being. It surveys the main theories and important arguments in the literature, and does so with impressive clarity and a flare for entertaining and illustrative examples. Highly recommended.' - Valerie Tiberius, University of Minnesota, USA
'Guy Fletcher’s introduction to well-being is everything such a book should be: lively, clear, and comprehensive. If I were teaching an undergraduate course on well-being, this is the book I would choose. If I were a student in such a course, this is the book I would want my professor to choose.' - Neera K. Badhwar, University of Oklahoma, USA
'This crisply written, rigorous and reliable book is the go-to guide for anyone interested in contemporary theories of Well-being and Happiness. Fletcher’s masterful overview of the key topics will be immensely useful to advanced undergraduates, graduate students, psychologists, and economists.' - Bradford Cokelet, University of Miami, USA
'An extremely welcome addition to the literature on well-being. Fletcher shows great judgement in choice of topics, and takes readers straight to the heart of current philosophical controversies. His discussion is even-handed, well-informed, sophisticated, up-to-date, and clear. Students and scholars will gain a great deal from using this book. It is very highly recommended.' - Christopher Woodard, University of Nottingham, UK
'This is a thorough and engaging discussion of philosophical approaches to and dimensions of well-being. Fletcher’s keen eye for technical analysis and creative use of examples combine to make an engaging and important resource for undergraduates and anyone interested in learning about well-being.' - Lorraine L. Besser, Middlebury College, USA