Philosophical Explorations 14 (3):249-262 (2011)

Dan Haybron
Saint Louis University
The science of well-being studies an evaluative kind, well-being, which raises natural worries about the ability of empirical research to deliver. This paper argues that well-being research can provide important information about how people are doing without entangling itself very deeply in controversial normative claims. Most life satisfaction research, for instance, purports only to tell us how people see their lives going relative to what they care about ? something most people can agree is important, whatever their theory of well-being. At the same time, such research can mislead if it does not in fact have the significance it seems to have. Life satisfaction measures in fact have this problem: life satisfaction attitudes have deep in-principle limitations in their ability to reflect the subjective quality of people's lives, for instance because they are only weakly constrained by the facts about how people see their lives going. You might, e.g., reasonably be satisfied with your life even if you think it's going badly for you. I propose largely replacing such measures with aggregate life evaluation measures, which dispense with both the global judgment and ?satisfaction? elements of life satisfaction
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DOI 10.1080/13869795.2011.594959
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References found in this work BETA

The Idea of Justice.Amartya Kumar Sen - 2009 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Well-Being.Roger Crisp - 2017 - In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University.
What is This Thing Called Happiness?Fred Feldman - 2010 - Oxford University Press.
Well-Being.Roger Crisp - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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Citations of this work BETA

Can We Measure Practical Wisdom?Jason Swartwood - 2020 - Journal of Moral Education 49 (1):71-97.
How Theories of Well-Being Can Help Us Help.Valerie Tiberius - 2014 - Journal of Practical Ethics 2 (2):1-19.
A Working Definition of Moral Progress.Jeremy Evans - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (1):75-92.
The Proper Pursuit of Happiness.Daniel M. Haybron - 2013 - Res Philosophica 90 (3):387-411.

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