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CEPPA Talk (in person) – Guy Fletcher (Edinburgh)
May 11, 2023 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Location: Edgecliffe G03
Title: All’s Well that Ends Well?
Abstract: Distinguish how well someone’s life is going at a particular point — their momentary well-being — from how well their life went as a whole, their lifetime well-being. How are these related?
The simplest answer is that lifetime well-being is just aggregate momentary well-being. Theories that deny this are forms of holism about lifetime well-being. Recent discussions of holism, inspired by David Velleman, have focused mainly on one particular species of it, the so-called “shape of a life” hypothesis. This is the claim that having an “uphill” distribution of momentary well-being contributes to lifetime well-being and does so over and above the instrumental effects that such a distribution might have upon momentary well-being. In this paper I discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the shape of a life hypothesis before introducing an alternative view, one which avoids those weaknesses, and argue for its independent plausibility.