The Philosophical Basis of Eudaimonic Psychology

  • Daniel M. HaybronEmail author
Part of the International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life book series (IHQL)


This chapter discusses the philosophical ideals animating eudaimonic psychology, arguing that eudaimonic measures of well-being reflect a reasonably coherent and defensible family of philosophical views centering on the notion of nature-fulfillment. Aristotelian theories are the best-known examples, but “eudaimonistic” views of well-being can take many forms, including the very different approach of John Stuart Mill. One goal of this chapter is to clarify the main theoretical options in this area, concerning the role of virtue in well-being; whether nature-fufillment is a matter of capacity-fulfillment or goal-fulfillment; and whether well-being is grounded entirely in the particulars of the individual’s makeup or in something else, such as species norms. A second goal is to defend eudaimonic measures, which are worth seeking regardless of our philosophical theories of well-being. The final part of the chapter sketches a “core schema for flourishing scales,” outlining the types of measures that will likely be most important to include in eudaimonic instruments, but leaving considerable room for variation. We can usefully think of the core eudaimonic insight in terms of this rough formula: happiness in a meaningful life that is rich in relationships and the free exercise of one’s capacities.


Flourishing Philosophy Well-being, happiness Eudaimonia Philosophical eudaimonism Nature-fulfillment Aristotle Eudaimonic psychology 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Saint Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA

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