The Passing of Temporal Well-Being
The philosophical study of well-being concerns what makes lives good for their subjects. It is now standard among philosophers to distinguish between two kinds of well-being:
· lifetime well-being, i.e., how good a person’s life was for him or her considered as a whole, and
· temporal well-being, i.e., how well off someone was, or how they fared, at a particular moment in time (momentary well-being) or over a period of time longer than a moment but shorter than a whole life, say, a day, month, year, or chapter of a life (periodic well-being).
Many theories have been offered of each of these kinds of well-being. A common view is that lifetime well-being is in some way constructed out of temporal well-being. This book argues that much of this literature is premised on a mistake. Lifetime well-being cannot be constructed out of temporal well-being, because there is no such thing as temporal well-being. The only genuine kind of well-being is lifetime well-being. The Passing of Temporal Well-Being will prove essential reading for professional philosophers, especially in moral and political philosophy. It will also be of interest to welfare economists and policy-makers who appeal to well-being.
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"In my view, the most interesting, most fun work in philosophy presents powerful arguments for surprising conclusions. Bramble’s book should be regarded as a member of that proud tradition. Anyone interested in well-being, prudence, and the good will profit from a close study of The Passing of Temporal Well-Being."
-- Dale Dorsey, Professor in Philosophy, University of Kansas
"Ben Bramble is an important up-and-coming figure in well-being studies. In this brief and clearly-written book, he takes aim at the notion of temporal well-being. His arguments raise foundational issues that defenders of the philosophical orthodoxy will need to grapple with."
-- Ben Bradley, Allan and Anita Sutton Professor of Philosophy at the University of Syracuse
"Nearly everyone accepts that well-being is of central importance. But should we care about how well our lives go, how well certain periods of our lives go, or how well off we are at a particular time? Bramble provides fascinating and engaging arguments for the view that we should speak only of the well-being of our lives as a whole. Anyone interested in the philosophy of well-being must read and learn from this book."
-- Roger Crisp, Professor of Moral Philosophy, University of Oxford
"Lively, original and highly readable. Bramble makes a compelling case for the radical conclusion that there is no such thing as temporal well-being."
-- Guy Fletcher, Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Edinburgh