Ethics and Eudaimonic Well-Being
Happiness and well-being are concepts with an evaluative dimension, so happiness research must come to terms with this evaluative content and cannot possibly remain value-free. The recent interest in the concept of eudaimonic well-being can be interpreted as an explicit acknowledgement of the ethical dimension of well-being and the need to preserve its normativity, rather than trying to sideline it. An important corollary of acknowledging the ethical dimension of well-being, however, is an acknowledgement of the person’s freedom of will and the indeterminacy of the right arbitration between competing ends. It is also argued that the ethical aspects of eudaimonic well-being include the two specific conditions (1) that the person feels no (strong) sense of guilt for enjoying whatever benefits she enjoys and (2) that, in case she suffers from (serious) deprivation, she must not be ignorant of any underlying injustices. Eudaimonic well-being is an essential aspect of the good life, but it is not unconditionally good in a comprehensive sense.
KeywordsWell-being Ethics Eudaimonia
I am grateful for very helpful reviews of an earlier manuscript by Paul McNamara and by Lorraine Besser-Jones.
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