Well-Being, Science, and Philosophy

  • Raffaele RodognoEmail author
Part of the Happiness Studies Book Series book series (HAPS)


Academic research on well-being is pursued in multiple disciplines and currently exploding. Governments are also interested in the topic, as witnessed by their recent efforts to develop statistical measures of progress that include well-being indicators. Combined, this interest opens the door to the fruitful application of well-being research to society. Research on well-being, however, is not always well integrated across the disciplines that purport to study it. In particular, there is insufficient communication between the empirical study of well-being, and its normative/conceptual study as pursued in philosophy. This state of affairs is lamentable, as it robs science and public policy of the expertise of philosophers, a desirable tool when evaluating empirical claims about well-being promotion. In this article, I examine the reasons for this lack of communication. In particular, I reject the view according to which it originates in the idea that philosophers take well-being to be a single and general concept, and argue instead that it is likely to be the result of the different theoretical constraints under which philosophy and empirical science respectively operate. Finally, I show that communication can be strengthened by developing the empirical articulations of philosophical theories of well-being, and sketch how to do just that.


Well-being research Invariantism about well-being Good life theories Philosophical theories of well-being 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy and History of IdeasAarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark

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