The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being  book cover
1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being

Edited By

Guy Fletcher

ISBN 9781138574083
Published October 13, 2017 by Routledge
548 Pages

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Book Description

The concept of well-being is one of the oldest and most important topics in philosophy and ethics, going back to ancient Greek philosophy. Following the boom in happiness studies in the last few years it has moved to centre stage, grabbing media headlines and the attention of scientists, psychologists and economists. Yet little is actually known about well-being and it is an idea that is often poorly articulated.

The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being provides a comprehensive, outstanding guide and reference source to the key topics and debates in this exciting subject.

Comprising over 40 chapters by a team of international contributors, the Handbook is divided into six parts:

  • well-being in the history of philosophy
  • current theories of well-being, including hedonism and perfectionism
  • examples of well-being and its opposites, including friendship and virtue and pain and death
  • theoretical issues, such as well-being and value, harm, identity and well-being and children
  • well-being in moral and political philosophy
  • well-being and related subjects, including law, economics and medicine.

Essential reading for students and researchers in ethics and political philosophy, it is also an invaluable resource for those in related disciplines such as psychology, politics and sociology.

Table of Contents

Introduction Guy Fletcher

Part 1: Well-Being in the History of Moral Philosophy 

1. Plato Eric Brown 

2. Aristotle on Well-Being Richard Kraut 

3. Hedonistic Theories of Well Being in Antiquity Tim O’Keefe 

4. Well-Being and Confucianism Richard Kim 

5. Well-Being and Daoism Justin Tiwald 

6. Well-Being in the Buddhist tradition Christopher Gowans 

7. Well-Being in the Christian tradition William Lauinger 

8. The Later British Moralists Robert Shaver 

Part 2: Theories of Well-Being 

9. Hedonism Alex Gregory 

10. Perfectionism Gwen Bradford 

11. Desire-Fulfilment theory Chris Heathwood 

12. Objective List Theory Guy Fletcher 

13. Hybrid Theories Chris Woodard 

14. Subject-Sensitive theories Alicia Hall and Valerie Tiberius 

15. Eudaimonism Lorraine Besser-Jones 

Part 3: Particular Goods and Bads 

16. Pleasure Ben Bramble 

17. Pain Guy Kahane 

18. Health, Disability, and Well-Being Drew Schroeder 

19. Friendship Diane Jeske 

20. Virtue Anne Baril 

21. Epistemic Goods Allan Hazlett 

22. Achievements Gwen Bradford and Simon Keller 

23. Meaningfulness Antti Kauppinen 

24. Needs Marco Grix and Philip McKibbin 

25. Happiness Neera Badhwar 

26. Death Ben Bradley 

Part 4: Theoretical Issues 

27. Monism and Pluralism Eden Lin 

28. Atomism and Holism in the Theory of Personal Well-Being Jason Raibley 

29. The Experience Machine and the Experience Requirement Jennifer Hawkins 

30. Children’s Well-being A Philosophical Analysis Anthony Skelton 

31. Well-Being and Animals Christopher Rice 

32. The Science of Well-Being Anna Alexandrova 

33. The Concept of Well-Being Steve Campbell 

Part 5: Well-Being in Moral and Political Philosophy 

34. Welfarism Dale Dorsey

35. Well-Being and the Non-Identity Problem Molly Gardner 

36. Well-Being, Paternalism, Autonomy Sarah Conly 

37. Well-Being and Disadvantage Jonathan Wolff and Doug Reeve 

38. Feminism and Well-Being Jules Holroyd 

Part 6: Well-being and other disciplines 

39. Well-Being and Law Alex Sarch 

40. Well-Being and Economics Erik Angner 

41. Medicine and Well-Being Daniel Groll. 


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Guy Fletcher is a lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, UK. His current research is in metaethics, on moral language and moral psychology. Another strand of research is in political philosophy, on hate speech. He also has a persistent side-interest in John Stuart Mill. He is the author of The Philosophy of Well-Being: An Introduction (Routledge, 2016).


"Without rival or even comparison in the literature, this is the definitive collection of contemporary philosophical perspectives on well-being. It is of use to students and scholars not merely of value theory, but also psychology, economics, politics, and medicine. These and still more fields have been made better off by the expert contributions to this Handbook." - Thaddeus Metz, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

"The question of what makes our lives good or bad for us is obviously of huge importance. Philosophers have much to contribute to answering that question, as this volume shows. The authors are excellent philosophers, and many have made significant contributions to the literature on well-being. This book will become the starting-point for future philosophical research on well-being." - Roger Crisp, University of Oxford, UK