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The Good LifeUnifying the Philosophy and Psychology of Well-Being$
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Michael Bishop

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199923113

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199923113.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 September 2021

Issues in the Psychology of Happiness and Well-Being

Issues in the Psychology of Happiness and Well-Being

(p.149) Chapter 6 Issues in the Psychology of Happiness and Well-Being
The Good Life

Michael A Bishop

Oxford University Press

Theory and evidence are mutually reinforcing. Evidence shapes our theories. And good theories repay this debt by helping to clarify and resolve methodological and conceptual issues that arise in scientific practice. This chapter aims to show that network theory (NT) can help to clarify and sometimes resolve three open issues that arise in Positive Psychology. First, Positive Psychology is full of studies about happiness. The placeholder view of happiness holds that happiness is positive-states-of-mind-and-the-mechanisms-responsible-for-them-whatever-they-may-be. The placeholder view is implicit in the empirical study of happiness, and it allows the psychologist to elude tough philosophical questions about the nature of happiness. Second, NT provides a natural way to understand Daniel Kahneman’s notion of objective happiness. Third, NT strikes a plausible balance between optimism and pessimism about the status of Subjective Well-Being instruments in Positive Psychology. This chapter also takes a critical look at the evidence for a happiness “set point” that is significantly genetically determined.

Keywords:   happiness, objective happiness, set point theory, heritability, genetic determination, Subjective Well-Being

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