Feeling good and functioning well: distinctive concepts in ancient philosophy and contemporary science.

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Feeling good and functioning well: distinctive concepts in ancient philosophy and contemporary science.

This paper is an invited response to Kashdan Biswas-Diener & King (2008) and to Waterman's (2008) commentary. Kashdan et al. assert that the distinction between hedonic and eudaimonic well-being is unwarranted philosophically and scientifically. We disagree because a correct understanding of Aristotle refutes Kashdan et al.'s claims and we refute three specific claims made about the definition measurements and overlap of kinds of subjective well-being. We re-analyze data from Keyes' (2005b) paper on mental health and find that nearly half (48.5%) of the MIDUS national sample has high hedonic well-being. However only 18% are flourishing which requires a high level of hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. The remaining 30.5% with high hedonic well-being but moderate eudaimonic well-being has nearly twice the rate of mental illness as flourishing individuals. Costs are incurred we conclude by science and citizens when we do not distinguish and achieve both kinds of well-being.

Citation: 
The Journal of Positive Psychology Vol. 4, No. 3, May 2009, 197–201

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