Happiness and the Structure and Dynamics of Human Life

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    Abstract

    Extant accounts of happiness and wellbeing have been insufficiently attentive to the fact that human lives have important structural and dynamic features. All the dominant theories, be it hedonism, preference or life satisfaction accounts or even Aristotelian theories of flourishing and the good life, are essentially list theories. They enumerate various features that might contribute to happiness, like pleasant experiences, satisfied preferences, positive judgments, personal character traits or social relations. Yet human lives are arguably more than neutral containers or bearers of things that are good and bad. The ways lives are lived and play out, the different forms they take, and the interrelations between different experiences and goods, might matter even more for happiness than the quality of the experiences, traits or events taken in isolation. I consider the view that the ‘narrative’ relations between events in a person’s life, as well as its form, are important elements in happiness or wellbeing, and argue, more generally, for a holistic approach to both the conceptualization and the assessment of human happiness.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPerspectives on Happiness : Concepts, Conditions and Consequences
    EditorsSøren Harnow Klausen, Bryon Martin, Mustafa Cihan Camci, Sarah Bushey
    Place of PublicationLeiden
    PublisherBrill
    Publication date9. Apr 2019
    Pages88-97
    ISBN (Print)978-90-04-39579-4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 9. Apr 2019
    SeriesAt the Interface/Probing the Boundaries
    Volume121
    ISSN1570-7113

    Keywords

    • Happiness
    • Wellbeing
    • Hedonism
    • Preference theories
    • Value theory

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