This paper focuses on a particular method which is used in contemporary empirical happiness studies, namely measuring people’s happiness by scoring their emotions (Kahneman is a prominent scholar). I examine the presupposition in this field that emotion scores can be added or subtracted, that throughout affective space runs a straight axis that plots hedonic tone or pleasure.
Our closest relative the chimpanzee seems to display proto-moral behavior. Some scholars emphasize the similarities between humans and chimpanzees, others some key differences. This paper aims is to formulate a set of intermediate conditions between a sometimes helpful chimpanzee and moral man. I specify these intermediate conditions as requirements for the chimpanzees, and for each requirement I take on a verificationist stance and ask what the empirical conditions that satisfy it would be. I ask what would plausibly count as the (...) behavioral correlate of each requirement, when implemented. I take a philosophical look at morality using the chimpanzees as a prism. We will talk of propositional attitudes, rationality and reason in relation to the chimps. By means of the chimps I intend to arrive at a notion of objective morality as conceived from a first person point of view in terms of propositional attitudes and reasons. (shrink)
This anthology examines the practical role of well-being in contemporary society. It discusses developments such as globalization, consumerism and the rapid innovation and use of new and emerging technologies and focuses on the significant impact of these developments on the well-being of people living today. The anthology brings together researchers from various disciplines, including psychology, economics, sociology, philosophy and development studies. It provides concrete insight on the role and importance of well-being in contemporary society, using a mix of empirical grounding, (...) philosophical rigour and an emphasis on real-world applications. It is unique in that it seeks to understand the relation between well-being research and its application towards real problems. (shrink)
This paper is a partial review of the literature on ‘social preferences'. There are empirical findings that convincingly demonstrate the existence of social preferences, but there are also studies that indicate their fragility. So how robust are social preferences, and how exactly are they context dependent? One of the most promising insights from the literature, in my view, is an equilibrium explanation of mutually referring conditional social preferences and expectations. I use this concept of equilibrium, summarized by means of a (...) figure, to discuss a range of empirical studies. Where appropriate, I also briefly discuss a couple of insights from the (mostly parallel) evolutionary literature about cooperation. A concrete case of the Orma in Kenya will be used as a motivating example in the beginning. (shrink)
The problem of cooperation for rational actors comprises two sub problems: the problem of the intentional object (under what description does each actor perceive the situation?) and the problem of common knowledge for finite minds (how much belief iteration is required?). I will argue that subdoxastic signalling can solve the problem of the intentional object as long as this is confined to a simple coordination problem. In a more complex environment like an assurance game signals may become unreliable. Mutual beliefs (...) can then bolster the earlier attained equilibrium. I will first address these two problems by means of an example, in order to draw some more general lessons about combining evolutionary theory and rationality later on. (shrink)
Two different types of subjective well-being (SWB) measures exhibit a remarkable difference in their correlations with people’s circumstances. The life satisfaction method shows relatively a strong correlation with income and material conveniences while affective measures are more tightly linked with freedom. Why is this so? To explain this difference I examine the cognitive mechanisms underlying these measures by means of dual process theory. This theory identifies two broad categories of cognition. One is Type 1: fast, intuitive, automatic and autonomous. The (...) other is Type 2: slow, deliberate and under conscious control. (They are also known as System 1 and System 2). I argue that in our normal decision making there is a division of labor between these mechanisms. Type 2 is more focused on making choices, comparing material goods and tradeoffs between them, while Type 1 is more oriented at the freedom that is necessary to make those choices. (shrink)
This paper examines a special kind of social preference, namely a preference to do one's part in a mixed-motive setting because the other party expects one to do so. I understand this expectation-based preference as a basic reactive attitude. Given this, and the fact that expectations in these circumstances are likely to be based on other people's preferences, I argue that in cooperation a special kind of equilibrium ensues, which I call a loop, with people's preferences and expectations mutually cross-referring. (...) As with a Lewis-norm, the loop can get started in a variety of ways. It is self-sustaining in the sense that people with social preferences have sufficient reason not to deviate. (shrink)
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