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Katja Vogt: A Well-Lived Human Life

When theorizers assess how people are doing, they often speak in terms of happiness or in terms of well-being. Neither of these appears ideal to me. In my work, I talk of a well-lived human life. This notion is inspired by ancient ethics and meets three criteria.

First, it is possible for someone to lead a good life even though, at certain moments, the person is not happy. Indeed, it may be impossible to be continually happy. At the same time, a life that is entirely without positive moods, feelings, emotions, and so on, does not seem to be a life that on the whole we would want—and as I argue in a moment, this matters. In aiming to lead a good life, we plausibly aim to live in ways that include positive experiences. (more…)

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Carol Graham: Why are black poor Americans more optimistic than white ones?

America has seen a dramatic increase in the number of so-called “deaths of despair”. Caused by opioid addiction, alcohol or drug overdose and suicide, these deaths have hit middle-aged white people without a college education particularly hard. The trend is extensive enough to have driven up the overall mortality rate, with the U.S. in the unusual position of being a rich country where life expectancy is falling rather than going up.

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