- Introduction: Doing Philosophy of Social Science
- Micro, Macro, and Mechanisms
- Mechanisms, Causal Modeling, and the Limitations of Traditional Multiple Regression
- Process Tracing and Causal Mechanisms
- Descriptive-Causal Generalizations: “Empirical Laws” in the Social Sciences?
- Useful Complex Causality
- Partial Explanations in Social Science
- Mechanistic Social Probability: How Individual Choices and Varying Circumstances Produce Stable Social Patterns
- The Impact of Duhemian Principles on Social Science Testing and Progress
- Philosophy and the Practice of Bayesian Statistics in the Social Sciences
- Sciences of Historical Tokens and Theoretical Types: History and the Social Sciences
- RCTs, Evidence, and Predicting Policy Effectiveness
- Bringing Context and Variability Back into Causal Analysis
- The Potential Value of Computational Models in Social Science Research
- Models of Culture
- The Evolutionary Program in Social Philosophy
- Cultural Evolution: Integration and Skepticism
- Coordination and the Foundations of Social Intelligence
- Making Race Out of Nothing: Psychologically Constrained Social Roles
- A Feminist Empirical and Integrative Approach in Political Science: Breaking Down the Glass Wall?
- Social Constructions of Mental Illness
- Cooperation and Reciprocity: Empirical Evidence and Normative Implications
- Evaluating Social Policy
- Values and the Science of Well-Being: A Recipe for Mixing
Abstract and Keywords
This article explains the discrepancy between well-being in philosophy and well-being in science, and discusses well-being variantism (WBV). It also describes development economics, gerontology, and the study of child well-being. The existence of a variety of measures of a country's well-being is not necessarily evidence of the existence of a variety of notions of well-being. The study of well-being across social and medical sciences does not present a unified front with similar definitions of constructs and measurement instruments. WBV does not imply that what well-being amounts to in a given situation is solely a matter of taste, opinion, or psychological makeup, whether of the judge or the subject. It needs not to maintain that for every existing notion of well-being, there is a context in which it applies. WBV need not to deny that sometimes several context-specific constructs of well-being are needed to combine into a more general notion.
Anna Alexandrova is a philosopher of social science at Cambridge University. She has taught at University of Missouri, St. Louis, and received her PhD from the University of California, San Diego. She has written on the use of formal models for explanation and policy making in economics and history, and on the measurement of happiness in psychology. Her current work examines well-being as an object of science and a social indicator.
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