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date: 15 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Positive psychology is a science, yet its subject matter overlaps significantly with that of the humanities. Differing methods of inquiry could lead to an antagonistic relationship between positive psychology and the various disciplines in the humanities, but this chapter explores the value of collaborative relations between these domains. It begins by noting ways in which the humanities have influenced—and continue to influence—positive psychology, and goes on to advocate an extensive, robust, and formal collaboration between positive psychology and the humanities. Positive psychology stands to benefit from such a collaboration through access to a rich repository of information about human experience and the quest to understand and cultivate human flourishing, through conceptual analyses and more robust and nuanced constructs, and through a new domain of positive interventions. Two extended discussions demonstrate some of the benefits that can accrue to positive psychology through collaboration with the humanities. First, a careful philosophical analysis of the “positive” in positive psychology shows how the humanities can help deepen positive psychology’s conceptual roots. Second, the presentation of a conceptual model for operationalizing the well-being effects of the humanities shows how collaboration can open up significant new programs of scientific inquiry into the roles of philosophy, history, religion, literature, music, film, and visual and performance art for understanding, enjoying, and advancing human flourishing.

Keywords: positive psychology, sciences, arts, humanities, philosophy, collaboration, definition, positive, negative, model

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