Monday, May 16, 2011

The Elusive Psychology of Well-Being

I’ve finally gotten around to reading a truly exceptional book: The Pursuit of Unhappiness: The Elusive Psychology of Well-Being (2008) by Daniel M. Haybron. And having read a fair amount of books (on related and unrelated topics) over the past several years, this is clearly among the best of the lot. As I said in response to a query from Chris Panza on Facebook on whether the book “is essentially on positive psychology:” In Haybron’s words, it is “basically a part of...the dark side of positive psychology, as it were.” But the method and tone is thoroughly philosophical and he makes important conceptual distinctions and clarifications about the meanings of happiness, well-being, and the good life, including a helpful taxonomy of the five predominant approaches to well-being. The glowing comments (blurbs) on the back of the book from the likes of Roger Crisp, John Doris and David Chalmers (among others) are not hyperbole. I should note that I’m not quite finished with the book but hope to discuss it in more depth here when I do.


Anonymous Mark D. White said...

My colleague Steve Morris wrote an interesting paper that takes issue with some aspects of Hayborn's work (including his book), defending a hedonistic account of happiness:

I have problems with both their accounts, which I hope to take up soon (perhaps at the Table).

5/23/2011 6:32 AM  
Blogger Patrick S. O'Donnell said...

Thanks Mark.

I look forward to whatever you have to say on the topic.

5/23/2011 7:35 AM  

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