Book

A Philosophy for the Science of Well-Being

Anna Alexandrova

Published in print July 2017 | ISBN: 9780199300518
Published online August 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780190677213 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780199300518.001.0001
A Philosophy for the Science of Well-Being

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Well-being, happiness, and quality of life are now established objects of social and medical research. Does this science produce knowledge that is properly about well-being? What sort of well-being? The definition and measurement of these objects rest on assumptions that are partly normative, partly empirical, and partly pragmatic, producing a great diversity of definitions depending on the project and the discipline. This book, written from the perspective of philosophy of science, formulates principles for the responsible production and interpretation of this diverse knowledge. Traditionally, a philosopher’s goal has been a single concept of well-being and a single theory about what it consists in. But for science this goal is both unlikely and unnecessary. Instead the promise and authority of the science depends on it focusing on the well-being of specific kinds of people in specific contexts. Sceptical arguments notwithstanding, this contextual well-being can be measured in a valid and credible way—but only if scientists broaden their methods to make room for normative considerations and address publicly and inclusively the value-based conflicts that inevitably arise when a measure of well-being is adopted. The science of well-being can be normative, empirical, and objective all at once, provided that we line up values to science and science to values.

Keywords: science of well-being; measurement; objectivity; philosophy of science; well-being

Book.  240 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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Table of Contents

Is There a Single Concept of Well-Being? in A Philosophy for the Science of Well-Being

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Is There a Single Theory of Well-Being? in A Philosophy for the Science of Well-Being

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How to Build a Theory in A Philosophy for the Science of Well-Being

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Can the Science of Well-Being Be Objective? in A Philosophy for the Science of Well-Being

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Is Well-Being Measurable? in A Philosophy for the Science of Well-Being

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Psychometrics as Theory Avoidance in A Philosophy for the Science of Well-Being

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