chapter  1
11 Pages

Concept, theory, and framework

ByRichard Kim

A cluster of concepts is typically employed to help clarify the concept of well-being, such as the notions of ‘happiness,’ ‘self-interest,’ ‘good for,’ ‘good life,’ and ‘flourishing.’ This chapter seeks to clarify the concept of well-being and some related notions and to establish well-being as a framework for understanding the values and practices of the early Confucian tradition. Rather than offer a theory of well-being or the good life, the Confucian tradition offers a reflective account of what makes human lives go well or badly, identifying what they take as good ingredients or elements of human lives, and how they hang together within human communities. The standard objection to desire accounts is that human beings can desire things that seem to be bad for them. On one version, human nature is constituted by various fundamental capacities and characteristic activities.