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date: 15 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the role of mental states in well-being, focusing on three types of state: pleasure, emotional well-being, and life satisfaction. Some philosophical theories, notably hedonism, take mental states to constitute the entirety of well-being, an approach that has significant attractions but also faces weighty objections. But even those who reject mental state theories of well-being should recognize that the psychological dimensions of well-being are centrally important in human life—though not always in the ways one might expect, particularly in the case of life satisfaction. A second aim of the chapter is to examine the implications of the philosophical discussion for measures of well-being, as well as the contrast between so-called hedonic and eudaimonic approaches. A brief consideration of the upshot of these reflections for policy concludes the chapter.

Keywords: well-being, policy, happiness, life satisfaction, pleasure, hedonism, mental state theories, emotional well-being, measures, eudaimonic psychology

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