Can good life be measured? The dimensions and measurability of a life worth living

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

Abstract

While well-being and happiness have become focal topics of psychological research, questions of good life have been mainly left to philosophers. This is an untenable state of affairs, as it leads to an overemphasis on one dimension of good life while failing to acknowledge that there are centrally important sources of value beyond one’s own happiness that people deeply care about. Therefore, we need more understanding and research on the other potential dimensions of good life. Accordingly, in this chapter I first argue that any proposed dimension of good life should be something that is intrinsically valuable, generally used when evaluating a life, and not derivative of other proposed dimensions. Based on these criteria, I suggest that at least well-being , moral praiseworthiness, meaning in life, and authenticity should be counted as independent dimensions of a good life. Accordingly, I examine these four dimensions in more detail, paying special attention to the question whether they can be measured using standard quantitative evaluation methods. It is concluded that most aspects of good life can in principle be measured, but certain important caveats apply to interpreting these results. All in all, this essay aims not to provide firm conclusions about the dimensions of good life, but rather invite other researchers into a serious discussion about the dimensions of good life and how psychology as a science can start to properly examine them.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMetrics of Subjective Well-Being: Limits and Improvements
Place of PublicationCham
Pages21-42
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-61810-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

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