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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Philosophy

Undergraduate Course: Philosophy of Well-Being (PHIL10152)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will examine well-being, a central topic in philosophy. In part 1 we examine the main theories of well-being. These include hedonism, desire-fulfilment theory, objective-list theory, perfectionism. We will also look at some more recently developed theories, including hybrid theories and happiness theories of well-being. In part 2 we examine some general theoretical issues connected to well-being. These include: attempts to understand how well-being differs from other kinds of evaluation (moral etc) and scepticism about the concept of well-being. We will also look at whether well-being is holistic by examining whether lifetime well-being is determined via some simple function from momentary well-being. We will also examine how time and death connect to well-being, by looking at issues such as the timing of prudential goods, whether (and why) death is bad for us. We will also examine the connection between disability and well-being.
Course description Part 1: In this part, we examine the main theories of well-being. These include hedonism, desire-fulfilment theory, objective-list theory, perfectionism. We will also look at some more recently developed theories, including hybrid theories and happiness theories of well-being, in relation to the developments of positive psychology.

Part 2: In this part, we examine some general theoretical issues connected to well-being, specifically in relation to perfectionism. These may include: the relation between human nature and human capacities, motivation and affectivity, and goods and value; the meaning of excellence qua happiness; epistemic emotions and intellectual virtues; the role of agency, exercise, and training; the common good, the capacities for social bonds, and human rights. We will discuss the main objections to perfectionism, as the ones regarding its teleology, the essence of human nature, the role of pleasure and pain for the agency, elitism, the scope of rationality in relation to childhood, disability, and non-human animals. Some texts, from Ancient to Contemporary philosophy, will be examined to frame the theoretical issues within the history of philosophy and the contemporary debate.

Part 3: In this part, we will analyse some case studies within an empirically informed debate. We may focus to the education for well-being, the role of spirituality for well-being, the promotion of well-being in the work-place and in the health-social care, social welfare, the ecological well-being of others (ecofeminist ethics).
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Morality and Value (PHIL08015)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students studying on MA Cognitive Science (Humanities) are permitted to take this course without having met the pre-requisite. However, it is advisable that students discuss the suitability of the course with their PT and the course organizer before enrolling.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  22
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Essay and Participation [Essay 3,000 words, 80%; Participation 20%]
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Further development of core philosophical skills in philosophy: interpreting authors, reconstructing and evaluating arguments, articulating theories, etc
  2. Knowledge of the main theories of well-being, and their strengths and weakness.
  3. Ability to write an essay on the theory of well-being which displays critical assessment along with knowledge of the literature.
  4. An understanding of some of the main philosophical debates and practical issues which the theory of well-being has implications for
  5. Confidence to give a short class presentation with the help of clear visual aids
Reading List
Suggested Reading:

Crisp, R. ┐Well-Being┐ in the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy
Fletcher, G. The Philosophy of Well-Being: An Introduction
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information One two hour seminar every week for 11 weeks
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Thomas Baker
Tel: (0131 6)50 3655
Course secretaryMiss Ann-Marie Cowe
Tel: (0131 6)50 3961
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