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A Philosophy for the Science of Well-Being

New York: Oxford University Press (2017)

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  1. Is Children’s Wellbeing Different From Adults’ Wellbeing?Andrée-Anne Cormier & Mauro Rossi - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (8):1146-1168.
    Call generalism about children’s and adults’ wellbeing the thesis that the same theory of wellbeing applies to both children and adults. Our goal is to examine whether generalism is true. While this question has not received much attention in the past, it has recently been suggested that generalism is likely to be false and that we need to elaborate different theories of children’s and adults’ wellbeing. In this paper, we defend generalism against the main objections it faces and make a (...)
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  • A Mid-Level Approach to Modeling Scientific Communities.Audrey Harnagel - 2019 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 76:49-59.
    This paper provides an account of mid-level models, which calibrate highly theoretical agent-based models of scientific communities by incorporating empirical information from real-world systems. As a result, these models more closely correspond with real-world communities, and are better suited for informing policy decisions than extant how-possibly models. I provide an exemplar of a mid-level model of science funding allocation that incorporates bibliometric data from scientific publications and data generated from empirical studies of peer review into an epistemic landscape model. The (...)
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  • Well-Being.Roger Crisp - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Practical Wisdom, Well‐Being, and Success.Cheng-Hung Tsai - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research:1-17.
    What is practical wisdom? What does a practically wise person know? It is widely held that a person is practically wise if and only if the person knows how to live well, and that a person knows how to live well only if the person knows what is good or important for well‐being. The question is: What is it that contributes to or constitutes well‐being known by a wise person? A theory of wisdom without a substantive answer to this question (...)
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  • Measure Development and the Hermeneutic Task.Laura M. Cupples - 2019 - Synthese 198 (3):2375-2390.
    I examine the dynamics of measure development using two case studies: temperature, and health-related quality of life. I argue, following Bas van Fraassen and Leah McClimans that in each case these dynamics have a hermeneutic structure. Measure development is plagued by epistemic circularity, as is the task of interpreting a text, and similar strategies can be used in both measure development and hermeneutics to overcome that circularity. I show that Hans Georg Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics in particular are an effective lens (...)
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  • Towards a Pragmatist Dealing with Algorithmic Bias in Medical Machine Learning.Georg Starke, Eva De Clercq & Bernice S. Elger - 2021 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 24 (3):341-349.
    Machine Learning is on the rise in medicine, promising improved diagnostic, therapeutic and prognostic clinical tools. While these technological innovations are bound to transform health care, they also bring new ethical concerns to the forefront. One particularly elusive challenge regards discriminatory algorithmic judgements based on biases inherent in the training data. A common line of reasoning distinguishes between justified differential treatments that mirror true disparities between socially salient groups, and unjustified biases which do not, leading to misdiagnosis and erroneous treatment. (...)
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  • Ethics of Digital Well-Being: A Multidisciplinary Approach.Christopher Burr & Luciano Floridi (eds.) - 2020 - Springer.
    This chapter serves as an introduction to the edited collection of the same name, which includes chapters that explore digital well-being from a range of disciplinary perspectives, including philosophy, psychology, economics, health care, and education. The purpose of this introductory chapter is to provide a short primer on the different disciplinary approaches to the study of well-being. To supplement this primer, we also invited key experts from several disciplines—philosophy, psychology, public policy, and health care—to share their thoughts on what they (...)
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  • How to Study Well-Being: A Proposal for the Integration of Philosophy with Science.Michael Prinzing - 2021 - Review of General Psychology 25 (2):152-162.
    There are presently two approaches to the study of well-being. Philosophers typically focus on normative theorizing, attempting to identify the things that are ultimately good for a person, while largely ignoring empirical research. The idea is that empirical attention cannot be directed to the right place without a rigorous theory. Meanwhile, social scientists typically focus on empirical research, attempting to identify the causes and consequences of well-being, while largely ignoring normative theorizing. The idea is that conceptual and theoretical clarity will (...)
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  • Wherein is the Concept of Disease Normative? From Weak Normativity to Value-Conscious Naturalism.M. Cristina Amoretti & Elisabetta Lalumera - 2021 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 25:1-14.
    In this paper we focus on some new normativist positions and compare them with traditional ones. In so doing, we claim that if normative judgments are involved in determining whether a condition is a disease only in the sense identified by new normativisms, then disease is normative only in a weak sense, which must be distinguished from the strong sense advocated by traditional normativisms. Specifically, we argue that weak and strong normativity are different to the point that one ‘normativist’ label (...)
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  • The Ethics of Digital Well-Being: A Thematic Review.Christopher Burr, Mariarosaria Taddeo & Luciano Floridi - 2020 - Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (4):2313–⁠2343.
    This article presents the first thematic review of the literature on the ethical issues concerning digital well-being. The term ‘digital well-being’ is used to refer to the impact of digital technologies on what it means to live a life that is good for a human being. The review explores the existing literature on the ethics of digital well-being, with the goal of mapping the current debate and identifying open questions for future research. The review identifies major issues related to several (...)
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  • The Eclipse of Value-Free Economics. The Concept of Multiple Self Versus Homo Economicus.Aleksander Ostapiuk - 2020 - Wrocław, Polska: Publishing House of Wroclaw University of Economics and Business.
    The books’ goal is to answer the question: Do the weaknesses of value-free economics imply the need for a paradigm shift? The author synthesizes criticisms from different perspectives (descriptive and methodological). Special attention is paid to choices over time, because in this area value-free economics has the most problems. In that context, the enriched concept of multiple self is proposed and investigated. However, it is not enough to present the criticisms towards value-free economics. For scientists, a bad paradigm is better (...)
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  • The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Childhood and Children.Anca Gheaus, Gideon Calder & Jurgen De Wispelaere (eds.) - 2018 - Routledge.
    Childhood looms large in our understanding of human life as it is a phase through which all adults have passed. Childhood is foundational to the development of selfhood, the formation of interests, values and skills and to the lifespan as a whole. Understanding what it is like to be a child, and what differences childhood makes, are essential for any broader understanding of the human condition. The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Childhood and Children is an outstanding reference source (...)
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  • The Ethics of Digital Well-Being: A Thematic Review.Christopher Burr, Mariarosaria Taddeo & Luciano Floridi - 2020 - Science and Engineering Ethics 26:2313–2343.
    This article presents the first thematic review of the literature on the ethical issues concerning digital well-being. The term ‘digital well-being’ is used to refer to the impact of digital technologies on what it means to live a life that is good for a human being. The review explores the existing literature on the ethics of digital well-being, with the goal of mapping the current debate and identifying open questions for future research. The review identifies major issues related to several (...)
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  • Thick Concepts in Economics: The Case of Becker and Murphy’s Theory of Rational Addiction.Catherine Herfeld & Charles Djordjevic - 2021 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 51 (4):371-399.
    In this paper, we examine the viability of avoiding value judgments encoded in thick concepts when these concepts are used in economic theories. We focus on what implications the use of such thick concepts might have for the tenability of the fact/value dichotomy in economics. Thick concepts have an evaluative and a descriptive component. Our suggestion is that despite attempts to rid thick concepts of their evaluative component, economists are often not successful. We focus on the strategy of explication to (...)
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  • Towards a Theory of Digital Well-Being: Reimagining Online Life After Lockdown.Matthew J. Dennis - 2021 - Science and Engineering Ethics 27 (3):1-19.
    Global lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic have offered many people first-hand experience of how their daily online activities threaten their digital well-being. This article begins by critically evaluating the current approaches to digital well-being offered by ethicists of technology, NGOs, and social media corporations. My aim is to explain why digital well-being needs to be reimagined within a new conceptual paradigm. After this, I lay the foundations for such an alternative approach, one that shows how current digital well-being initiatives can (...)
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  • Business Ethics and Quantification: Towards an Ethics of Numbers.Gazi Islam - forthcoming - Journal of Business Ethics:1-17.
    Social practices of quantification, or the production and communication of numbers, have been recognized as important foundations of organizational knowledge, as well as sources of power. With the advent of increasingly sophisticated digital tools to capture and extract numerical data from social life, however, there is a pressing need to understand the ethical stakes of quantification. The current study examines quantification from an ethical lens, to frame and promote a research agenda around the ethics of quantification. After a brief overview (...)
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  • Well-Being and Pluralism.Polly Mitchell & Anna Alexandrova - forthcoming - Journal of Happiness Studies.
    It is a commonly expressed sentiment that the science and philosophy of well-being would do well to learn from each other. Typically such calls identify mistakes and bad practices on both sides that would be remedied if scientists picked the right bit of philosophy and philosophers picked the right bit of science. We argue that the differences between philosophers and scientists thinking about well-being are more difficult to reconcile than such calls suggest, and that pluralism is central to this task. (...)
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  • Artificial Wisdom: A Philosophical Framework.Cheng-Hung Tsai - 2020 - AI and Society:937-944.
    Human excellences such as intelligence, morality, and consciousness are investigated by philosophers as well as artificial intelligence researchers. One excellence that has not been widely discussed by AI researchers is practical wisdom, the highest human excellence, or the highest, seventh, stage in Dreyfus’s model of skill acquisition. In this paper, I explain why artificial wisdom matters and how artificial wisdom is possible (in principle and in practice) by responding to two philosophical challenges to building artificial wisdom systems. The result is (...)
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  • My objectivity is better than yours: contextualising debates about gender inequality.Rosie Worsdale & Jack Wright - forthcoming - Synthese:1-25.
    In this paper, we contribute to a growing literature in the philosophy of social science cautioning social scientists against context-independent claims to objectivity, by analyzing the recent proposal of a new Basic Index of Gender Inequality by Gijsbert Stoet and David Geary. Despite the many internal problems with BIGI, Stoet and Geary have had some success in positioning the index as an important corrective to the way in which gender inequality is measured in mainstream metrics like the Global Gender Gap (...)
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  • Novel & worthy: creativity as a thick epistemic concept.Julia Sánchez-Dorado - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (3):1-23.
    The standard view in current philosophy of creativity says that being creative has two requirements: being novel and being valuable. The standard view on creativity has recently become an object of critical scrutiny. Hills and Bird have specifically proposed to remove the value requirement from the definition, as it is not clear that creative objects are necessarily valuable or creative people necessarily praiseworthy. In this paper, I argue against Hills and Bird, since eliminating the element of value from the explanation (...)
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  • Coherence Objectivity and Measurement: The Example of Democracy.Sharon Crasnow - forthcoming - Synthese:1-23.
    Empirical research on democracy depends upon data. The need for such data has led to the development of measures of democracy. Measurement models are evaluated in terms of their reliability and validity, both of which may be thought of as related to the objectivity of the measure. Using the Varieties of Democracy Project as an example, I consider how assessing reliability and validity of measurement models is challenging and argue that democracy might be understood as measured objectively when it is (...)
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  • Wellbeing and Happiness.Elias L. Khalil - 2019 - Journal of Value Inquiry 53 (4):627-652.
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  • Nomadic Concepts, Variable Choice, and the Social Sciences.Catherine Greene - 2020 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 50 (1):3-22.
    The observation that concepts used by social scientists are often problematic is not new; they have been described as Ballung concepts, cluster concepts, essentially contested, and reflexive; however, the need to work with these concepts remains. This article addresses the problem of variable choice in the social sciences by exploring and extending Woodward’s recommendations. This article demonstrates why Woodward’s criteria are difficult to apply in the social sciences and proposes an alternative, but complementary, framework for assessing variables.
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  • Normative Models and Their Success.Lukas Beck & Marcel Jahn - 2021 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 51 (2):123-150.
    In this paper, we explore an under-investigated question concerning the class of formal models that aim at providing normative guidance. We call such models normative models. In particular, we exam...
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  • First Person Epidemiological Measures: Vehicles for Patient Centered Care.Leah M. McClimans - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 10):2521-2537.
    Since the 1970’s epidemiological measures focusing on “health-related quality of life” or simply “quality of life” have figured increasingly as endpoints in clinical trials. Before the 1970’s these measures were known, generically, as performance measures or health status measures. Relabeled as “quality of life measures” they were first used in cancer trials. In the early 2000’s they were relabeled again as “patient-reported outcome measures” or PROMs, in their service to the FDA to support drug labeling claims. To the limited degree (...)
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  • Well-Being Coherentism.Gil Hersch - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Philosophers of well-being have tended to adopt a foundationalist approach to the question of theory and measurement, according to which theories are conceptually prior to measures. By contrast, social scientists have tended to adopt operationalist commitments, according to which they develop and refine well-being measures independently of any philosophical foundation. Unfortunately, neither approach helps us overcome the problem of coordinating between how we characterize wellbeing and how we measure it. Instead, we should adopt a coherentist approach to well-being science.
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  • Theory Without Theories: Well-Being, Ethics and Medicine.Jennifer Hawkins - forthcoming - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy.
    No concept is more important for clear thinking about medical ethics than the concept of well-being or (what I take to be the same thing) the concept of what’s good for a person. Yet for a variety of reasons medical ethicists have generally had little to say about this notion. Medical ethics education, and bioethics more generally, would be better if people learned to think about welfare in a more substantial and structured way. Philosophers would typically approach such a problem (...)
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  • The Ethics of Digital Well-Being: A Multidisciplinary Perspective.Christopher Burr & Luciano Floridi - forthcoming - In Christopher Burr & Luciano Floridi (eds.), Ethics of Digital Well-Being: A Multidisciplinary Perspective. Springer.
    This chapter serves as an introduction to the edited collection of the same name, which includes chapters that explore digital well-being from a range of disciplinary perspectives, including philosophy, psychology, economics, health care, and education. The purpose of this introductory chapter is to provide a short primer on the different disciplinary approaches to the study of well-being. To supplement this primer, we also invited key experts from several disciplines—philosophy, psychology, public policy, and health care—to share their thoughts on what they (...)
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  • Valid for What? On the Very Idea of Unconditional Validity.Cristian Larroulet Philippi - 2021 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 51 (2):151–175.
    What is a valid measuring instrument? Recent philosophy has attended to logic of justification of measures, such as construct validation, but not to the question of what it means for an instrument to be a valid measure of a construct. A prominent approach grounds validity in the existence of a causal link between the attribute and its detectable manifestations. Some of its proponents claim that, therefore, validity does not depend on pragmatics and research context. In this paper, I cast doubt (...)
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  • No Theory-Free Lunches in Well-Being Policy.Gil Hersch - 2020 - Philosophical Quarterly 70 (278):43-64.
    Generating an account that can sidestep the disagreement among substantive theories of well-being, while at the same time still providing useful guidance for well-being public policy, would be a significant achievement. Unfortunately, the various attempts to remain agnostic regarding what constitutes well-being fail to either be an account of well-being, provide useful guidance for well-being policy, or avoid relying on a substantive well-being theory. There are no theory-free lunches in well-being policy. Instead, I propose an intermediate account, according to which (...)
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  • Doing Good Badly? Philosophical Issues Related to Effective Altruism.Michael Plant - 2019 - Dissertation, Oxford University
    Suppose you want to do as much good as possible. What should you do? According to members of the effective altruism movement—which has produced much of the thinking on this issue and counts several moral philosophers as its key protagonists—we should prioritise among the world’s problems by assessing their scale, solvability, and neglectedness. Once we’ve done this, the three top priorities, not necessarily in this order, are (1) aiding the world’s poorest people by providing life-saving medical treatments or alleviating poverty (...)
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  • The Complementarity of Psychometrics and the Representational Theory of Measurement.Elina Vessonen - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (2):415-442.
    Psychometrics and the representational theory of measurement are widely used in social scientific measurement. They are currently pursued largely in isolation from one another. I argue that despite their separation in practice, RTM and psychometrics are complementary approaches, because they can contribute in complementary ways to the establishment of what I argue is a crucial measurement property, namely, representational interpretability. Because RTM and psychometrics are complementary in the establishment of representational interpretability, the current separation of measurement approaches is unfounded. 1Introduction2Two (...)
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  • Rescuing Objectivity: A Contextualist Proposal.Jack Wright - 2018 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 48 (4):385-406.
    Ascriptions of objectivity carry significant weight. But they can also cause confusion because wildly different ideas of what it means to be objective are common. Faced with this, some philosophers have argued that objectivity should be eliminated. I will argue, against one such position, that objectivity can be useful even though it is plural. I will then propose a contextualist approach for dealing with objectivity as a way of rescuing what is useful about objectivity while acknowledging its plurality.
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  • Well-Being, Disability, and Choosing Children.Matthew J. Barker & Robert A. Wilson - 2019 - Mind 128 (510):305-328.
    The view that it is better for life to be created free of disability is pervasive in both common sense and philosophy. We cast doubt on this view by focusing on an influential line of thinking that manifests it. That thinking begins with a widely-discussed principle, Procreative Beneficence, and draws conclusions about parental choice and disability. After reconstructing two versions of this argument, we critique the first by exploring the relationship between different understandings of well-being and disability, and the second (...)
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  • Measurement in Science.Eran Tal - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Against Contextualism About Prudential Discourse.Guy Fletcher - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (277):699-720.
    In recent times, there has been a surge of interest in, and enthusiasm for, contextualist views about prudential discourse — thought and talk about what has prudential value or contributes to someone’s well-being. In this paper I examine and reject two cases for radical forms of prudential contextualism, proposed by Anna Alexandrova and Steve Campbell. Alexandrova holds that the semantic content of terms like ‘well-being’ and ‘doing well’ varies across contexts. Campbell proposes that there are plural prudential concepts at play (...)
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  • Happiness.Dan Haybron - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    There are roughly two philosophical literatures on “happiness,” each corresponding to a different sense of the term. One uses ‘happiness’ as a value term, roughly synonymous with well-being or flourishing. The other body of work uses the word as a purely descriptive psychological term, akin to ‘depression’ or ‘tranquility’. An important project in the philosophy of happiness is simply getting clear on what various writers are talking about: what are the important meanings of the term and how do they connect? (...)
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