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date: 29 March 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews the literature on eudaimonia (the pursuit, manifestation, and/or experience of virtue, personal growth, self-actualization, flourishing, excellence, and meaning) and its distinction from hedonia (the pursuit and/or experience of pleasure, enjoyment, comfort, and reduced pain). The chapter briefly outlines concepts related to eudaimonia which have appeared in philosophy, religion, and theoretical work by psychologists and psychiatrists. It provides a more detailed review of psychology research on eudaimonia. It then provides several much needed discussions: an overview of the most common themes across the many definitions of eudaimonia, organized into two subtypes—conceptions of eudaimonia as a way of behaving, and conceptions of eudaimonia as a way of feeling or a manifestation of flourishing; a discussion of why eudaimonia has been slow to receive empirical attention until recently; a synopsis of several criticisms of the eudaimonia literature; and a proposal of some important future directions.

Keywords: eudaimonia, eudemonia, hedonia, well-being, meaning, self-actualization, flourishing, virtue, virtue ethics, personal expressiveness

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