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Right in the Middle: Normativity and Idealized Subjective Theories of Well-Being

Right in the Middle: Normativity and Idealized Subjective Theories of Well-Being
15 Devonshire Place, Room 200
Time: Oct 3rd, 3:00 pm End: Oct 3rd, 5:00 pm
Interest Categories: Sociology (FAS), Religion, Study of (FAS), Psychology, Psychoanalytic, Psychiatry, Political Science, Philosophy (UTSC), Philosophy (UTM), Philosophy (FAS), Law, Faculty of , Information, Faculty of, Ethics, Education, Critical Theory, Criminology, Communications, Communication, Culture, Information and Technology (UTM), Anthropology (UTM), Anthropology (FAS), 2000-
Lecture by Valerie Tiberius, Philosophy, University of Minnesota

The Centre for Ethics is pleased to present:

Valerie Tiberius, Professor & Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Philosophy, University of Minnesota, will be presenting our second Seminar Series event for 2011-12:
“Right in the Middle: Normativity and Idealized Subjective Theories of Well-Being”
Monday, October 3, 2011
3:00 – 5:00 pm
Room 200, Centre for Ethics, Larkin Building, 15 Devonshire Place
The event is free & open to the public.
Subjective theories of well-being  –  theories that tie well-being to the attitudes of the welfare subject – have an advantage (unsurprisingly) when it comes to explaining the subjectivity of well-being.  But simple subjective theories (for example, a desire satisfaction theory that identifies well-being with the satisfaction of actual desires) are inadequate because our actual desires often lead us astray.  This has led many philosophers to favor idealized subjective theories, according to which well-being is understood in terms of subjective states under certain ideal conditions (for example, the satisfaction of fully informed desires).  But idealized subjective theories have their own problems.  This paper begins with the thought that if one theory is too subjective and the other too ideal we should try to take up a position that is “just right”, somewhere in the middle.   Professor Tiberius outlines a version of such a theory, which she calls the Value Fulfillment Theory.  In order to defend the theory, she articulates a set of criteria for a good theory of well-being.  One of these criteria is that a good theory ought to shed light on the empirical literature about well-being.  To show how her theory meets this criterion, in the final section of the paper she applies the Value Fulfillment Theory to the psychological literature on the effects of parenthood on well-being.
Centre for Ethics
University of Toronto
6 Hoskin Avenue
Toronto, Ontario  M5S 1H8
T: 416-978-6288
F: 416-946-8069

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