International Journal of Philosophical Practice

Volume 4, Issue 4, Fall 2018

Martha Lang
Pages 16-27

Philosophical Counseling and the Network Theory of Well-Being, Revamped

The central goal of this article is to make the case that the revamped version of Michael Bishop’s Network Theory of Well-being, described in his 2015 book The Good Life: Unifying the Philosophy and Psychology of Well-Being, provides a worthwhile framework for philosophical counseling endeavors, including Logic-Based Therapy. In 2017, The Network Theory of Well-Being, Revamped emerged as a response to Bishop’s theory of well-being; the revamped version was also my dissertation, which I successfully defended and published that year. By appealing to a set of counter-examples, I argue that Bishop’s theory is missing an essential component; his positive causal network model of well-being allows for sever­al problematic cases which, upon investigation, demonstrate positive causal networks but cannot reasonably be considered examples of well-being. In revamping Network Theory, I argue that three additional criteria are required for well-being: authenticity, a bit of moral­ity, and some objective information. Altogether, these three criteria comprise what I call holistic authenticity. As such, the emergent theory of well-being declares that well-being is a matter of instantiating a holistically authentic positive causal network. This theory of well-being is the most reasonable notion of well-being for philosophical counseling because it is based on Network Theory’s inclusive method, which requires that the philosophy of well-being join forces with the science of well-being.