Who Is the Happy Warrior? Philosophy Poses Questions to Psychology

The Journal of Legal Studies (Impact Factor: 1.35). 06/2008; 37(S2):81-81. DOI: 10.1086/587438
Source: RePEc


Psychology has recently focused attention on subjective states of pleasure, satisfaction, and what is called "happiness." The suggestion has been made in some quarters that a study of these subjective states has important implications for public policy. Sometimes, as in the case of Martin Seligman's "positive psychology" movement, attempts are made to link the empirical findings and the related normative judgments directly to the descriptive and normative insights of ancient Greek ethics and modern virtue ethics. At other times, as with Daniel Kahneman's work, the connection to Aristotle and other ancient Greek thinkers is only indirect, and the connection to British Utilitarianism is paramount; nonetheless, judgments are made that could be illuminated by an examination of the rich philosophical tradition that runs from Aristotle through to John Stuart Mill's criticisms of Bentham. (c) 2008 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved..

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    • "Indeed, Aristotle pointed out the importance of " good activity " in achieving eudemonic happiness, and that pleasure would follow from doing good activities without struggle and with virtue (c.f. Nussbaum, 2008). More recent studies of intentional activity suggest that it is perhaps the most malleable and long-lasting determinant of happiness (Lyubomirsky et al., 2005); whilst we adapt to changes in personal circumstances (e.g. a new car, bigger house or better paying job) leading to the so-called " hedonic treadmill " , we are less likely to adapt to (or alternatively , more likely to vary) changes to our intentional activities, thereby leading to significant and long-lasting effects on wellbeing. "
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    ABSTRACT: This conceptual paper explores the use of psychology, especially positive psychology, to inform the design of travel experiences for a specific health outcome - enhanced participant wellbeing or mental health. It extends the concept of sustainable tourism as a tool for local, regional and societal improvement. Mental health is a growing issue in many developed countries: 30% of Australians report depressive symptoms, with implications for social sustainability. The paper reviews how positive psychology seeks to combine hedonic, eudemonic and social wellbeing into the integrated concept of “flourishing”, creating positive emotions, engagement, and meaning. It uses the charity challenge model to explore tourism experiences that enhance participant wellbeing. Charity challenges are participatory, group travel events combined with extended physical activity, awareness-raising, and fund-raising for charity. These events inherently combine recognised pathways to wellbeing, e.g. being active, doing something meaningful, giving, and connecting with others. Other principles from positive psychology, such as intentional and volitional activity, goal attainment, activation of signature strengths, experiencing positive emotions/gratification, and capitalisation on positive experiences, can be incorporated into the event design to foster wellbeing outcomes. The paper suggests how this design might take shape, as well as management implications and further research questions.
    Journal of Sustainable Tourism 09/2015; 23(3):382-400. DOI:10.1080/09669582.2014.986489 · 1.93 Impact Factor
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    • "For example, meaning-making activities, such as work and family, may not always improve one's happiness, although they may add meaning, and happiness activities may not always add meaning to one's life. The tension between happiness and meaning requires further analysis, as a focus on one without the other results in an incomplete conceptualization of wellbeing (Nussbaum, 2008). Finally, as Blanchflower and Oswald (2004) point out, there are " limitations to wellbeing statistics " and it is " unlikely that human happiness can be understood without, in part, listening to what human beings say " (p. "
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    ABSTRACT: In this study we examine the constructs " happiness " and " wellbeing " in a sample of Canadian women and men in mid-adulthood. Through a sequential mixed-methods approach, we utilize Sen and Nussbaum's conceptualizations of capabilities to inform the themes generated from semi-structured interviews. We find that participants understand happiness and wellbeing as two distinct constructs that are illuminated in the metaphors happiness as balance and the gears of wellbeing. Second, we corroborate these constructs through a principal component analysis of questionnaire data. We conclude that happiness and wellbeing are not static entities, but rather iterative processes that are constantly in flux and determined by the fulfillment of the often contradictory needs for (1) goal-achievement and an acceptance of reality, and (2) freedom along with meaning-making, which often involves creating restraints in one's life. These findings have important implications for those using happiness and wellbeing as policy outcome measures.
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    • "Relying exclusively on a¤ects may seem again a rather narrow basis for interpersonal comparisons of well-being (see Nussbaum (2008)). "
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