The Good Life: Unifying the Philosophy and Psychology of Well-Being

Paperback | April 15, 2016

byMichael A Bishop

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Philosophers defend theories of what well-being is but ignore what psychologists have learned about it, while psychologists learn about well-being but lack a theory of what it is. In The Good Life, Michael Bishop brings together these complementary investigations and proposes a powerful, newtheory for understanding well-being. The network theory holds that to have well-being is to be "stuck" in a self-perpetuating cycle of positive emotions, attitudes, traits and accomplishments. For someone with well-being, these states -- states such as joy and contentment, optimism and adventurousness, extraversion and perseverance,strong relationships, professional success and good health -- build upon and foster each other. They form a kind of positive causal network (PCN), so that a person high in well-being finds herself in a positive cycle or "groove." A person with a lesser degree of well-being might possess onlyfragments of such a network -- some positive feelings, attitudes, traits or successes, but not enough to kick start a full-blown, self-perpetuating network.Although recent years have seen an explosion of psychological research into well-being, this discipline, often called Positive Psychology, has no consensus definition. The network theory provides a new framework for understanding Positive Psychology. When psychologists investigate correlations andcausal connections among positive emotions, attitudes, traits, and accomplishments, they are studying the structure of PCNs. And when they identify states that establish, strengthen or extinguish PCNs, they are studying the dynamics of PCNs. Positive Psychology, then, is the study of the structureand dynamics of positive causal networks.The Good Life represents a new, inclusive approach to the study of well-being, an approach committed to the proposition that discovering the nature of well-being requires the knowledge and skills of both the philosopher in her armchair and the scientist in her lab. The resulting theory provides apowerful, unified foundation for future scientific and philosophical investigations into well-being and the good life.

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Philosophers defend theories of what well-being is but ignore what psychologists have learned about it, while psychologists learn about well-being but lack a theory of what it is. In The Good Life, Michael Bishop brings together these complementary investigations and proposes a powerful, newtheory for understanding well-being. The netw...

Michael A Bishop is Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:250 pages, 5.39 × 8.19 × 0.91 inPublished:April 15, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190603801

ISBN - 13:9780190603809

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"...the most significant addition to the philosophical bestiary is Michael A. Bishop's network theory of well-being, which he defends in this important new book...This is a marvelous book, made all the more so by its plain-spoken, good humored and concise exposition...I heartily recommend itfor anyone interested in the philosophy or science of well-being."- - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews Online