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Philosophical Topics

Volume 41, Issue 1, Spring 2013

Happiness

Julien A. Deonna, Fabrice Teroni
Pages 123-142
DOI: 10.5840/philtopics20134116

What Role for Emotions in Well-being?

In this article, we ask whether and in what way emotions are in themselves good for the well-being of the individuals who experience them. Our overall argument aims at showing that an objectivist list theory of well-being suitably anchored within a value-based theory of the emotions provides the best framework for answering these questions. Emotions so conceived, we claim, provide for the sort of first-person perspective understanding of values that is required in order to pursue them. This conclusion we reach only after having brought to light in the first part of the article the limitations of rival hedonist and desire-based theories of well-being. We conclude that at least part of the insights fueling these theories, i.e., good feelings and getting what one wants are a measure of how well our lives go, can happily be accounted for within the approach we recommend.