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Subjective Theories of Well-Being

In Ben Eggleston & Dale Miller (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Utilitarianism. Cambridge University Press. pp. 199-219 (2014)

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  1. The Welfare-Nihilist Arguments against Judgment Subjectivism.Anthony Bernard Kelley - 2021 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 19 (3):291-310.
    Judgment subjectivism is the view that x is good for S if and only if, because, and to the extent that S believes, under the proper conditions, that x is good for S. In this paper, I offer three related arguments against the theory. The arguments are about what judgment subjectivism implies about the well-being of welfare nihilists, people who believe there are no welfare properties, or at least that none are instantiated. I maintain that welfare nihilists can be benefited (...)
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  • Can Subjectivism Account for Degrees of Wellbeing?Willem van der Deijl & Huub Brouwer - 2021 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 24 (3):767-788.
    Wellbeing describes how good life is for the person living it. Wellbeing comes in degrees. Subjective theories of wellbeing maintain that for objects or states of affairs to benefit us, we need to have a positive attitude towards these objects or states of affairs: the Resonance Constraint. In this article, we investigate to what extent subjectivism can plausibly account for degrees of wellbeing. There is a vast literature on whether preference-satisfaction theory – one particular subjective theory – can account for (...)
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  • Can desire-satisfaction alienate our good?Willem van der Deijl - 2023 - Journal of Value Inquiry 57 (4):687-700.
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  • What Is the Question to which Anti-Natalism Is the Answer?Nicholas Smyth - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (1):1-17.
    The ethics of biological procreation has received a great deal of attention in recent years. Yet, as I show in this paper, much of what has come to be called procreative ethics is conducted in a strangely abstract, impersonal mode, one which stands little chance of speaking to the practical perspectives of any prospective parent. In short, the field appears to be flirting with a strange sort of practical irrelevance, wherein its verdicts are answers to questions that no-one is asking. (...)
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  • The Irrelevance of Harm for a Theory of Disease.Dane Muckler & James Stacey Taylor - 2020 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 45 (3):332-349.
    Normativism holds that there is a close conceptual link between disease and disvalue. We challenge normativism by advancing an argument against a popular normativist theory, Jerome Wakefield’s harmful dysfunction account. Wakefield maintains that medical disorders are breakdowns in evolved mechanisms that cause significant harm to the organism. We argue that Wakefield’s account is not a promising way to distinguish between disease and health because being harmful is neither necessary nor sufficient for a dysfunction to be a disorder. Counterexamples to the (...)
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  • The Experience Machine Objection to Desire Satisfactionism.Dan Lowe & Joseph Stenberg - 2017 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 3 (2):247-263.
    It is widely held that the Experience Machine is the basis of a serious objection to Hedonistic theories of welfare. It is also widely held that Desire Satisfactionist theories of welfare can readily avoid problems stemming from the Experience Machine. But in this paper, we argue that if the Experience Machine poses a serious problem for Hedonism, it also poses a serious problem for Desire Satisfactionism. We raise two objections to Desire Satisfactionism, each of which relies on the Experience Machine. (...)
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  • Against Welfare Subjectivism.Eden Lin - 2017 - Noûs 51 (2):354-377.
    Subjectivism about welfare is the view that something is basically good for you if and only if, and to the extent that, you have the right kind of favorable attitude toward it under the right conditions. I make a presumptive case for the falsity of subjectivism by arguing against nearly every extant version of the view. My arguments share a common theme: theories of welfare should be tested for what they imply about newborn infants. Even if a theory is intended (...)
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  • Evolution and Utilitarianism.François Jaquet - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (5):1151-1161.
    Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek and Peter Singer have recently provided an evolutionary argument for utilitarianism. They argue that most of our deontological beliefs were shaped by evolution, from which they conclude that these beliefs are unjustified. By contrast, they maintain that the utilitarian belief that everyone’s well-being matters equally is immune to such debunking arguments because it wasn’t similarly influenced. However, Guy Kahane remarks that this belief lacks substantial content unless it is paired with an account of well-being, and he adds (...)
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  • CHOICE: an Objective, Voluntaristic Theory of Prudential Value.Walter Horn - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (1):191-215.
    It is customary to think that Objective List (“OL), Desire-Satisfaction (“D-S”) and Hedonistic (“HED”) theories of prudential value pretty much cover the waterfront, and that those of the three that are “subjective” are naturalistic (in the sense attacked by Moore, Ross and Ewing), while those that are “objective” must be Platonic, Aristotelian or commit the naturalist fallacy. I here argue for a theory that is both naturalistic (because voluntaristic) and objective but neither Platonic, Aristotelian, nor (I hope) fallacious. In addition, (...)
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  • Well-Being and Moral Constraints: A Modified Subjectivist Account.Megan Fritts - 2022 - Philosophia 50 (4):1809-1824.
    In this paper, I argue that a modified version of well-being subjectivism can avoid the standard, yet unintuitive, conclusion that morally horrible acts may contribute to an agent’s well-being. To make my case, I argue that “Modified Subjectivists” need not accept such conclusions about well-being so long as they accept the following three theoretical addenda: 1) there are a plurality of values pertaining to well-being, 2) there are some objective goods, even if they do not directly contribute to well-being, and (...)
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  • Two Visions of Welfare.Fred Feldman - 2019 - The Journal of Ethics 23 (2):99-118.
    In earlier work I defended Intrinsic Attitudinal Hedonism—a view about what makes for individual personal welfare. On this view, a person’s level of welfare is entirely determined by the amounts of intrinsic attitudinal pleasure and pain he or she takes in things. The view seems to run into trouble in cases involving individuals who take their pleasure in disgusting, immoral things; and in cases involving individuals who take their pleasure in things that really don’t actually happen; and in cases involving (...)
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  • What is the Bad-Difference View of Disability?Thomas Crawley - 2022 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 21 (3).
    The Bad-Difference View of disability says, roughly, that disability makes one worse off. The Mere-Difference View of disability says, roughly, that it doesn’t. In recent work, Barnes – a MDV proponent – offers a detailed exposition of the MDV. No BDV proponent has done the same. While many thinkers make it clear that they endorse a BDV, they don’t carefully articulate their view. In this paper, I clarify the nature of the BDV. I argue that its best interpretation is probabilistic (...)
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  • Is Epistemic Anxiety an Intellectual Virtue?Frank Cabrera - 2021 - Synthese (5-6):1-25.
    In this paper, I discuss the ways in which epistemic anxiety promotes well-being, specifically by examining the positive contributions that feelings of epistemic anxiety make toward intellectually virtuous inquiry. While the prospects for connecting the concept of epistemic anxiety to the two most prominent accounts of intellectual virtue, i.e., “virtue-reliabilism” and “virtue-responsibilism”, are promising, I primarily focus on whether the capacity for epistemic anxiety counts as an intellectual virtue in the reliabilist sense. As I argue, there is a close yet (...)
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  • Moral Agency.Timothy Nailer - 2022 - Dissertation, University of Adelaide
    While there is a vast philosophical literature exploring the conditions under which it is appropriate to hold individuals morally responsible for their actions, relatively little attention has been paid to the related question of which kinds of individuals merit these responsibility ascriptions. Under normal circumstances, typical adult human beings are held morally responsible for their behaviour but infants and nonhuman animals are not. In this thesis, I aim to account for this difference. That is, I aim to give an analysis (...)
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  • Desire-Fulfillment Theory.Chris Heathwood - 2016 - In Guy Fletcher (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Well-Being. Routledge. pp. 135-147.
    Explains the desire-fulfillment theory of well-being, its history, its development, its varieties, its advantages, and its challenges.
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  • Hybrid Theories.Christopher Woodard - 2015 - In Guy Fletcher (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being. Routledge. pp. 161-174.
    This chapter surveys hybrid theories of well-being. It also discusses some criticisms, and suggests some new directions that philosophical discussion of hybrid theories might take.
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