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Title: The structure of well-being : incommensurability, needs, and sufficiency
Author: Fardell, B. P.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7428 9628
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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As it is discussed in philosophy, economics, and some other social sciences, well-being is very commonly conceived of and treated in quantificational terms. However, it is difficult, if not impossible to make room in the quantificational conception of well-being for any notion of sufficiency––of having enough in a sense that it is especially ethically significant that people attain. This difficulty with sufficiency is encapsulated by the Threshold Problem: that of non-arbitrarily specifying a sufficiency level on a scale of well-being. This thesis takes this difficulty and this problem as an opportunity to investigate deeper problems with the quantifying approach. One line of inquiry pursued is whether a theory of needs could solve the Threshold Problem. To this end existing theories of needs are surveyed, but found wanting. The central element of the thesis, however, is a critique of the quantifying account of well-being emerging from a discussion of value incommensurability––which in turn provides resources for the development of an account of the structure of well-being. This account presents a new theory of needs, and analyses well-being in terms of needs. It avoids the Threshold Problem, because well-being is no longer a level at which a person is, nor an amount of anything they have. Rather, both having enough and being well are to have everything one needs.
Supervisor: Munoz-Dardé, V. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available