I taught the honors course on the philosophy of well-being at the University of Edinburgh, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences (semester 1, academic year 2017/2018).
For this course, I have been nominated “Best Overall Teacher” by the Edinburgh University Students’ Association.
Class Readings and Topics
Listed below are the topics and readings for each seminar.
- Theories of Well-Being 1: Hedonism, Desire-Fulfillment theory, and Objective list theories
- Fletcher, G. (2016) The Philosophy of Well-Being: An Introduction (chapter 1).
- Plato, Protagoras, 351b-359a.
- Brown, E. (2016) “Plato on well-being”, in Fletcher, G. (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being (Routledge).
- Fletcher, G. (2016) The Philosophy of Well-Being: An Introduction (chapters 2-3).
- Theories of Well-Being 2: Eudaimonism and Perfectionist theories
- Fletcher, G. (2016) The Philosophy of Well-Being: An Introduction (chapters 4 and 5)
- Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book 1.
- Kraut, R. (2016) “Aristotle on well-being”, in Fletcher, G. (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being (Routledge).
- Baracchi, C. (2008). Aristotle ‘s Ethics as First Philosophy (CUP), pp. 79-101; 295-305.
- Positive psychology on happiness and well-being
- Fredrickson, B. L. (2001) “The role of positive emotions in positive psychology. The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions”, American Psychologist, 56: 218–225.
- Haybron, D. (2007). “Life Satisfaction, Ethical Reflection and the Science of Happiness’’, The Journal of Happiness Studies 8: 99–138.
- Bishop, A. (2015) The good life: Unifying the philosophy and psychology of well-being, (OUP), chapter 2.
Watch the documentary “Happy”(R. Belic, 2013)
- Well-Being, friendship, and gratitude
- Bishop A. (2015) The good life: Unifying the philosophy and psychology of well-being, (OUP), chapters 1 and 4
- Isen, A. M., Levin, P. F. (1972) “Effect on feeling good on helping”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 21 (3): 384-388.
- Chih-Che, L. (2016). “The roles of social support and coping style in the relationship between gratitude and well-being”, Personality and Individual Differences 89: 13–18.
- Jeske, D. (2016) “Friendship and well-being”, in Fletcher, G. (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being (Routledge).
- Wood, A. M., Froh, J. J., & Geraghty, A. W. (2010). “Gratitude and well-being: A review and theoretical integration”, Clinical Psychology Review, 30: 890–905.
Watch the documentary “Human” (extended version vol. 1) (Y. Arthus-Bertrand, 2015)
5 and 6. Case studies and applied ethics (small-groups work)
Choose one of these topics and read the related readings:
a. Well-Being and Health
Hawkins, J. (2014) “Well-Being, Time and Dementia”, Ethics, 507-542.
Mitchell, D. P. (1995) “Postmodernism, health, and illness”, Journal of Advanced Nursing 23: 201-205.
Penedo, F. J., & Dahn, J. R. (2005). “Exercise and well-being: A review of mental and physical health benefits associated with physical activity”, Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 18: 189–193.
McKie, A., Swinton, J. (2000). “Community, culture, and character: the place of the virtues in psychiatric nursing practice”, Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 7: 35–42.
b. Well-Being and Disability
Barnes, E. (2014) ‘Valuing Disability, Causing Disability’, Ethics, 125 (1), 88-113.
Kahane, G. & Savulescu, J. (2016) ‘Disability and Mere Difference’, Ethics, 126, 774-788.
Andrić, V. & Wündisch, J. (2015) ‘Is It Bad to Be Disabled? Adjudicating Between the Mere-Difference and the Bad-Difference Views of Disability’, Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy, 9 (3),1–16.
c. Well-being, spirituality, and compassion
Van Direndonck D, Mohan K. (2006) “Some thoughts on spirituality and eudaimonic well‐being”, Mental Health, Religion and Culture 9(3): pp. 227–238.
Chadwick, R., Lown, B. (2016). “What do we need to sustain compassionate medical care?”, Medicine 44/10: 583-585.
Boellinghaus, I. et al. (2014). “The Role of Mindfulness and Loving-Kindness Meditation in Cultivating Self-Compassion and Other-Focused Concern in Health Care Professionals”, Mindfulness 5(2): 129-138.
Visser, J. A et al. (2017). “Existential Well-Being: Spirituality or Well-Being?”, The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 205/3: 234-241.
Watch the talk delivered by D. Goleman “A force for good”
short version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGbBwMdDbmg
long version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLCrFRGkijM
d. Welfare and Economics
Angner, E. (2016) “Well-Being and economics”, in Fletcher, G. (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being (Routledge).
Dorsey, D. (2016) “Welfarism”, in Fletcher, G. (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being (Routledge).
Darwall, S. (2004) Welfare and Rational Care, PUP, chapter 1.
e. Well-being in the workplace
Gilbert, P. (2009). “Leading to Well-Being”, in Thompson, N., Bates, J. (eds.) Promoting Workplace Well-Being (Palgrave MacMillan).
Hayward, C., Taylor, J. (2011). “Eudaimonic Well‐being: Its Importance and Relevance to Occupational Therapy for Humanity”, Occup. Ther. Int. 18 (2011) 133–141.
Mitchell, L. (2016). “RBI Living Well: building an employee wellbeing philosophy, Occupational Health & Wellbeing 68/ 9.
Tehan, M. (2009). “Women-Friendly Workplaces”, in Thompson, N., Bates, J. (eds.) Promoting Workplace Well-Being (Palgrave MacMillan).
f. Non-human animals and earth’ well-being
Rice, C. M. “Well-being and animals”, in Fletcher, G. (ed.) Routledge
Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being (Routledge).
Gruen, L. (2015). Entangled Empathy (Lantern Books 2015), chapter 3.
Knight, K. W., Rosa, E. A. (2011). “The environmental efficiency of well-being: A cross-national analysis”, Social Science Research, 40/3: 931-949.
Watch the documentary “Tomorrow” (M. Laurent and C. Dyon 2015)
7. Perfectionism 1: in-depth analysis and criticism
- Kraut, Richard (2007). What is Good and Why: The Ethics of Well-Being (Harvard University Press), pp. 131-148.
- Sobel, D. (2011) ‘The Limits of the Explanatory Power of Developmentalism’, Journal of
Moral Philosophy, 7 (4), 517-527.
- Bradford, G. (2016) ‘Perfectionism’ in Fletcher, G. (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-being.
- Dorsey, D. (2010), Three Arguments for Perfectionism. Noûs, 44: 59–79.
- Perfectionism 2: rationality and flourishing
- Korsgaard, C. M. 2008. The Constitution of Agency: Essays on Practical Reason and Moral Psychology (OUP), chapter 4
- Hurka, T. (1993) Perfectionism (OUP), chapter 3.
- Candiotto, L. (2017) “Epistemic emotions: the building blocks of intellectual virtues”, Studi di Estetica 1/2017.
- Hazlet, A. (2016) “Epistemic goods”, in Fletcher, G. (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being (Routledge).
. Perfectionism 3: virtues and human capabilities
- Nussbaum, M. 2000. Women and Human Development: The Capabilities Approach (CUP), chapter 1 (sections: 4-5-6)
- Nussbaum. M. 2011. Creating capabilities: the human development approach (Harvard University Press), chapter 7.
Baril, A. (2016) “Virtue and well-being”, in Fletcher, G. (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being (Routledge).
Haybron, D. M. (2007), “Well-Being and Virtue’’, Journal of Ethics&Social Philosophy II:2.
Sen, A. (2005), “Human Rights and Capabilities,” Journal of Human Development, 6(2): 151–66.
9-10 Projects’ presentation and discussion