Presentation on theme: "Happiness and Wellbeing From a Philosophical Point of View Dan Weijers."— Presentation transcript:
Happiness and Wellbeing From a Philosophical Point of View Dan Weijers
What (Really) Matters? What advice would you give a child?
What (Really) Matters? Wellbeing The good life Happiness The meaning of life
Theories of Wellbeing… Explain what ultimately makes a person’s life go better for them
One Thing or Many? One simple thing: –Just pleasure One complex thing: –Informed, authentic, and morally based positive feelings A list of things: –Happiness, friendship and truth
Subjective vs Objective Does just our personal opinion matter? Or can we be wrong?
Who Are We to Say What is Objectively Good for Us?
Theories of Wellbeing Mental State (Hedonism) Desire/Life Satisfaction Flourishing Objective List
Mental State Theories Folk: get pleasure now! Philosophers: maximise pleasure over your entire life Key: All that matters is how you feel (your mental states) Psychological measure = affect balance (e.g. PANAS) Well-beingHappiness+ve net balance of good over bad mental states Especially hedonism
What about Truth & Freedom? Compare two lives –Same experiences –Different reality Double agent partner Sponsored children all died Whose life is better? What should we do about a happy slave?
Desire/Life Satisfaction Theories Based on desire/preference-satisfaction Informed: adequately informed desires only Ideal: desires that fit some objective criteria only Key: All that matters is getting what you want (or should want) Psychological measure = life satisfaction (e.g. Diener’s satisfaction with life scale) Well-beingHappiness Having most or more of your desires satisfied Sometimes
Is the Satisfaction of Our Desires Good for us? How would “omniscient you” advise yourself? Having a desire satisfied does not seem valuable unless it is the right desire
Objective List E.g. W.D. Ross’ account: –Knowledge, Pleasure, Virtue and the proper apportionment of pleasure to virtue Can’t we explain knowledge with pleasure or desire-satisfaction?
Flourishing Theories Developing one or all of your species’ fundamental traits Aristotle: Flourishing is the soul expressing virtue E.g. cowardice – courage - rashness Key: All that matters is being the best you can be (given that you’re a human) Well-beingFlourishingDeveloping & expressing natural capacities
Why is Fulfilling Our Natural Capacities Good? Is excellence in reasoning or long-distance running better for us? Unnatural things can be good for us too! –E.g. Pacemakers, wings etc.
Best Theory of Wellbeing? Mental State (Hedonism) Desire/Life Satisfaction Flourishing Objective List