The concept of well-being is one of the oldest and most important topics in philosophy and ethics, going back to ancient Greek philosophy. Following the boom in happiness studies in the last few years it has moved to centre stage, grabbing media headlines and the attention of scientists, psychologists and economists. Yet little is actually known about well-being and it is an idea that is often poorly articulated.

The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being provides a comprehensive, outstanding guide and reference source to the key topics and debates in this exciting subject.

Comprising over 40 chapters by a team of international contributors, the Handbook is divided into six parts:

  • well-being in the history of philosophy
  • current theories of well-being, including hedonism and perfectionism
  • examples of well-being and its opposites, including friendship and virtue and pain and death
  • theoretical issues, such as well-being and value, harm, identity and well-being and children
  • well-being in moral and political philosophy
  • well-being and related subjects, including law, economics and medicine.

Essential reading for students and researchers in ethics and political philosophy, it is also an invaluable resource for those in related disciplines such as psychology, politics and sociology.

chapter |6 pages


ByGuy Fletcher

part |104 pages

Well-being in the history of moral philosophy

chapter |11 pages

Plato on well-being

ByEric Brown

chapter |9 pages

Aristotle on well-being

ByRichard Kraut

chapter |11 pages

Hedonistic theories of well-being in antiquity

ByTim O’Keefe

chapter |16 pages

Well-being and Confucianism 1

ByRichard Kim

chapter |14 pages

Well-being and Daoism

ByJustin Tiwald

chapter |11 pages

Buddhist understandings of well-being

ByChristopher W. Gowans

chapter |14 pages

Well-being in the Christian tradition

ByWilliam Lauinger

chapter |16 pages

The later British moralists

ByRobert Shaver

part |86 pages

Theories of well-being

chapter |11 pages


ByAlex Gregory

chapter |11 pages


ByGwen Bradford

chapter |13 pages

Desire-fulfillment theory

ByChris Heathwood

chapter |13 pages

Objective list theories

ByGuy Fletcher

chapter |14 pages

Hybrid theories

ByChristopher Woodard

chapter |12 pages

Well-being and subject dependence

ByAlicia Hall, Valerie Tiberius

chapter |10 pages


ByLorraine Besser-Jones

part |132 pages

Particular goods and bads

chapter |10 pages

The role of pleasure in well-being

ByBen Bramble

chapter |12 pages

Pain, experience, and well-being

ByGuy Kahane

chapter |12 pages

Health, disability, and well-being 1

ByS. Andrew Schroeder

chapter |9 pages

Friendship and well-being

ByDiane Jeske

chapter |17 pages

Virtue and well-being 1

ByAnne Baril

chapter |12 pages

Epistemic goods

ByAllan Hazlett

chapter |10 pages

Well-being and achievement

ByGwen Bradford, Simon Keller

chapter |11 pages


ByAntti Kauppinen

chapter |15 pages

Needs and well-being

ByMarco Grix, Philip McKibbin

chapter |13 pages


ByNeera K. Badhwar

chapter |9 pages

Well-being and death

ByBen Bradley

part |86 pages

Theoretical issues

chapter |11 pages

Monism and pluralism

ByEden Lin

chapter |11 pages

The experience machine and the experience requirement

ByJennifer Hawkins

chapter |12 pages

Children's well-being

A philosophical analysis
ByAnthony Skelton

chapter |11 pages

Well-being and animals

ByChristopher M. Rice

chapter |13 pages

The science of well-being 1

ByAnna Alexandrova

chapter |13 pages

The concept of well-being

ByStephen M. Campbell

part |62 pages

Well-being in moral and political philosophy

chapter |12 pages


ByDale Dorsey

chapter |10 pages

Well-being and the non-identity problem

ByMolly Gardner

chapter |11 pages

Autonomy and well-being 1

BySarah Conly

chapter |13 pages

Well-being and disadvantage

ByJonathan Wolff, Douglas Reeve

chapter |14 pages

Feminism and well-being

ByJules Holroyd

part |40 pages

Well-being and other disciplines

chapter |13 pages

Well-being and the law

ByAlex Sarch

chapter |12 pages

Well-being and economics 1

ByErik Angner

chapter |13 pages

Medicine and well-being

ByDaniel Groll