New Publication: Well-Being Contextualism and Capabilities

Hi! Here’s one of my newly published open access articles. In it, I offer a defence of contextualism and thoroughgoing pluralism about well-being concepts and standards.

Title: Well-Being Contextualism and Capabilities
From the journal: Journal of Happiness Studies
PDF version:


Typically, philosophers analysing well-being’s nature maintain three claims. First, that well-being has essential properties. Second, that the concept of well-being circumscribes those properties. Third, that well-being theories should capture them exhaustively and exclusively. This predominant position is called well-being monism. In opposition, contextualists argue that no overarching concept of well-being referring to a universally applicable well-being standard exists. Such a standard would describe what is good, bad, and neutral, for us without qualification. Instead, well-being research is putatively about several central phenomena. If several phenomena are central, a proliferation of concurrently acceptable well-being theories and operationalisations is expected. However, contextualists are challenged to explain how those analysing well-being are not systematically talking past each other. In this paper, I address that challenge. The upshot is that contextualist well-being theories can be justifiably context-sensitive and applied to tailor-made policy-making efforts. I illustrate the benefits by connecting contextualism to the capability approach.

Keywords: Well-being · Contextualism · Monism · Pluralism · Capability approach

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