Integrating Philosophical and Psychological Accounts of Happiness and Well-Being

  • Sabrina IntelisanoEmail author
  • Julia Krasko
  • Maike Luhmann
Research Paper


Philosophers have been interested in happiness and well-being since the Hellenic period. More recently, psychologists have begun to study how happy people are and what makes people’s lives go well. Today, these fields begin to converge, as philosophers and psychologists are interested in integrating the two disciplines. A central challenge for any interdisciplinary research is that disciplines often differ in their terminology. In this paper, we offer a novel approach to integrating philosophical and psychological accounts of happiness and well-being by describing these accounts on two independent continuous dimensions: degree of stability (from transient to stable) and psychological process (from affective to cognitive). This dimensional taxonomy highlights similarities and differences among the accounts and allows researchers to assess where philosophical and psychological accounts overlap and where they diverge. We first describe the methodological approach we used to develop our two-dimensional taxonomy, and then demonstrate how this taxonomy can be applied to a large number of existing theoretical accounts of happiness and well-being. We conclude the paper with a discussion of the strengths and limitations of the dimensional approach and implications for future theoretical and empirical research.


Happiness Well-being Dimensions Classification Philosophical and psychological accounts 



Preparation of this manuscript was supported by Grant #57313 awarded to Maike Luhmann by the Happiness and Well-Being Project, a joint program by the St. Louis University and the Templeton Foundation. We would like to thank Dr. Jussi Suikkanen (University of Birmingham, UK) and Prof. Dr. Wilfried Hinsch (University of Cologne, Germany) for their philosophical support. We would like to thank Marie von Rogal for her assistance in the literature search and for her help with this manuscript.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ruhr-Universität BochumBochumGermany

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