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Tiberius, Valerie. Well-Being: Psychological Research for Philosophers
2006, Philosophy Compass 1(5): 493-505.
Added by: Carl Fox
Abstract: Well-being in the broadest sense is what we have when we are living lives that are not necessarily morally good, but good for us. In philosophy, well-being has been an important topic of inquiry for millennia. In psychology, well-being as a topic has been gathering steam very recently and this research is now at a stage that warrants the attention of philosophers. The most popular theories of well-being in the two fields are similar enough to suggest the possibility of interdisciplinary collaboration. In this essay I provide an overview of three of the main questions that arise from psychologists’ work on well-being, and highlight areas that invite philosophical input. Those questions center on the nature, measurement, and moral significance of well-being. I also argue that the life-satisfaction theory is particularly well suited to meet the various demands on a theory of well-being.

Comment: Tiberius provides a nice exposition of the key approaches to well-being in the philosophical tradition and briefly argues for the 'life-satisfaction' account, but the main thrust of the paper is to introduce areas of overlap with research in psychology and to flag up ways in which philosophy could make a contribution. Some sections could certainly serve as introductory reading to either the philosophical or psychological literature, and the paper as a whole would work well in an applied or inter-disciplinary module.

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