The Benthamites VS The Aristotelians!
Charles Seaford, co-head of the Centre for Well-Being at the New Economics Foundation, gave a great talk at the London Philosophical Club last night, on the philosophical dispute going on at the height of policy-making over how to define well-being. He told us the dispute could be separated into two camps: the Benthamites, who define well-being as 'feeling good', and the Aristotelians, who define well-being as 'optimal human functioning'. Fascinating talk from an organization that has been at the heart of the 'well-being agenda' for more than a decade. And a really good debate afterwards. I still think a key part of the Good Life is debating the Good Life, and feeling that your views matter. That's why I don't think the definition of well-being should be left to statisticians and bureaucrats.
I'll write a longer post this afternoon about why I'm an Aristotelian, but why I'm sceptical that Aristote's philosophy can be turned into an empirical and objective science. But in the meantime, here's a short video I made of Charles' talk.