Integrating the Philosophy and Psychology of Well-Being: An Opinionated Overview

Journal of Happiness Studies 25 (50):1-29 (2024)
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Abstract

This paper examines the integration and unification of the philosophy and psychology of well-being. For the most part, these disciplines investigate well-being without reference to each other. In recent years, however, with the maturing of each discipline, there have been a growing number of calls to integrate the two. While such calls are welcome, what it means to integrate well-being philosophy and psychology can vary greatly depending on one’s theoretical and practical ends. The aim of this paper is to provide a novel conceptual framework for thinking about integrating well-being philosophy and psychology that systematically categorizes different kinds of integration projects. We divide existing attempts in the literature into three broad categories according to the perspective from which the integration takes place: (1) top-down meta-theoretical unification; (2) psychological integration within philosophy; and (3) philosophical integration within psychology. These categories are then broken down into various further subcategories. Our aim in providing this framework is both to facilitate the assessment and comparison of existing integration attempts and to provide a roadmap for future integration attempts. For each category, we discuss one or two representative examples of the approaches. By doing so, we hope to generate interest in the wide variety of existing integration projects, as well as to generate discussion concerning the benefits and pitfalls of different approaches.

Author's Profile

James L. D. Brown
University of Sheffield

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