Tag Archives: wellbeing

Shelly Kagan

[P]retty much everyone believes at least this much: the presence of pleasure and the absence of pain is at least one component of well-being. (It is quite hard to deny this. The value of pleasure and the disvalue of pain seem virtually self-evident to anyone experiencing them.)

Shelly Kagan, Normative Ethics, Boulder, 1998, p. 30

Shelly Kagan

[E]ven though there may be components of well-being that go beyond one’s experiences—and thus can plausibly be thought to come in imperceptible amounts—it seems undeniable that one important component of well-being is indeed the presence of pleasure and the absence of pain.

Shelly Kagan, ‘Do I Make a Difference?’, Philosophy & Public Affairs, Vol. 39, No. 2 (2011), p. 115

Yew-Kwang Ng

I am against the insistence on the purely ordinal measurability of happiness only. In fact, I am not only certain that I am happier now than when I was 30-something, I am also absolutely sure that I am now at least 3 times happier than then. It is difficult to be sure that my happiness now is exactly 3.5 or 4.3 times my happiness then. However, I am pretty sure that it is more than 3 times.

Yew-Kwang Ng, ‘Happiness Studies: Ways to Improve Comparability and Some Public Policy Implications’, The Economic Record, vol. 84, no. 265 (June, 2008), p. 256

Leonard Katz

What is my good? The good of something, it seems—and, in particular, the well-being of whatever thing I am. But what can the good of things such as we are be? Some things—for example, automobiles and government agencies—appear to have fixed essential functions or goals, and a good deriving from these. But when something is truly said to be ‘for the good of’ such things, this seems to be said differently than it would be about ourselves. Such things are essentially purposive because they are artifacts or institutions, and as such have essentially just whatever functions they are essentially conceived (or constitutively intended) to have. Whatever maintains or furthers the automobile’s or government agency’s capacity to perform its essential function well is for its good. Replacing the Environmental Protection Agency’s Administrator was for its good; and lubrication was for the automobile’s. But such a thing’s good seems not to be a good for the thing itself in the way that ours seems to be. The meaning of life seems to be unlike the essential purpose of a government agency or of a machine. And this is because our capacity for faring well or ill seems to be unlike any capacity we believe artifacts or institutions to have.

Leonard Katz, Hedonism as Metaphysics of Mind and Value, Ph.D. dissertation, Princeton University, 1986, pp. 7-8