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Achievement, enjoyment, and the things we care about: A theory of personal well-being

Jason R Raibley, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This dissertation develops a theory of personal well-being---i.e., a theory of what is it for a person's life to go well for them. The proposed theory is called "the successful activity view of well-being." It is an end-neutral account of individual welfare that primarily values the pursuit, achievement, and enjoyment of ends that are important to (i.e., valued by) a person. The parts of this process---e.g., the pursuit of ends, the achievement of ends, the enjoyment of activities and situations, and even the satisfaction of desires for situations---are also of some significance for a person's level of well-being when actualized separately. I argue that previous end-neutral accounts of well-being, such as hedonism and desire-satisfactionism, are open to damaging objections because pleasures and desires can fail to coincide with a person's values. I also argue that the successful activity view has greater unity, explanatory power, and ontological economy than any form of perfectionism or any hybridized theory of wellbeing currently on offer.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Raibley, Jason R, "Achievement, enjoyment, and the things we care about: A theory of personal well-being" (2007). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3254956.