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UNC-Chapel Hill PHIL 154 - The Science of Well-Being

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Phil 154: Philosophy of Social Science 10/28/2019The Science of Well-BeingThe science of well-being’s “basic commitments”1. Well-being is measurable2. Well-being claims are generalizable3. Well-being is valuable4. Well-being can be a policy goal5. There are many “constructs” of well-beingMapping the philosophy to the sciencePhilosophical Theory  Example Empirical Measures- Mental state theories  positive/negative affect schedule- Desire-Satisfaction Theories  revealed preference-satisfaction, GDP per capita, domain-satisfaction- Objective list theories  human development index, Dasgupta’s social well-beingPositive Psychology of Well-Being- Relies heavily on self-reports- Cantril’s laddero Indicate where on the ladder you feel like you personally stand right now  worst life or best life?- The Meaning in Life QuestionnaireMyths about Happiness1. “True” love?a. Marriage doesn’t lead to lasting changes2. Physical attractiveness?a. Correlations are small, and evidence suggests that causation runs SWB  PAb. Weight loss amongst obese people has health benefits but not effect on happinessc. Plastic surgery has no effect3. Academic success?a. No effect of high test scores Money and Happiness“money has only a weak relation to well-being once basic needs for shelter and food, and psychological needs for companionship are met”- Within countries more money = more happiness- Across countries more money does not equal more happinesso CompetitionMaterialism- Materialistic people:o Experience fewer positive emotions and more negative emotionso Less satisfied with their liveso Find their lives less meaningful When materialism goes up  well-being goes downWise ways to spend money- Spend on experiences rather than thingso More happinesso Less buyer’s remorseo Why are experiences better than things? They facilitate social relationships They are less likely to induce social comparisons Help to shape one’s identity- Spend money to save timeo Time affluence is associated with social well-beingo Working more than 40 hours per week means lowers social well-beingSelf-determination Theory- Claims that people have three main psychological needs:1. Competence – capable, and able to handle life’s challenges2. Autonomy – free to make their own decisions3. Relatedness – one belongs and is socially


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