Published online by Cambridge University Press: 30 September 2014
What is living well? We describe two contrasting lives and ask whether one is better lived than the other. Many philosophers, among them Susan Wolf, Richard Kraut and Stephen Darwall would say so. We criticize their position, which views certain activities as intrinsically more worthy than others. Instead, we conclude that persons are living well if they act morally and find long-term satisfaction, regardless of the pursuits they choose.
1 Dworkin, Ronald, Religion Without God (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013), 2Google Scholar, 4, 155.
7 Frankfurt, Harry, ‘Reply to Susan Wolf’ in Contours of Agency: Essays on Themes from Harry Frankfurt, eds. Buss, Sarah and Overton, Lee (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002), 250Google Scholar.
8 See, for example, Darwall, Stephen, Welfare and Rational Care (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Kraut, Richard, What is Good and Why (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Wolf, Susan, Meaning in Life and Why It Matters (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010)Google Scholar.
9 Wolf, 34–39.
12 Kraut, 137.
13 Darwall, 75.
14 The Middle Works of John Dewey, 1899–1924, vol. 9, ed. Boydston, Jo Ann (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1985), 248–249Google Scholar.
15 Darwall, 95, 97.
16 See his Method of Modern Jazz Piano Playing, rev. ed., Boston Music Company, 1937.
17 Known as Camp Encore/Coda, it continues under the directorship of Phil Saltman's son and daughter-in-law; its history can be found at www.encore-coda.com.
18 Darwall, 79.
19 Robinson, John Manley, An Introduction to Early Greek Philosophy (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1968), 52Google Scholar.
20 The locus classicus is Book X of the Nicomachean Ethics, trans. Ross, David, rev. Ackrill, J. L. and Urmson, J. O. (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1998)Google Scholar, where at 1178a5 Aristotle maintains that a life of contemplation is ‘best and pleasantest’.
22 Frankfurt, 247.
23 Dworkin, 1, 11.
24 Ecclesiastes 2:17. The translation is from Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1988)Google Scholar.
25 Ecclesiastes 2:24.
26 Ecclesiastes 7:17.
27 Ecclesiastes 10:17.
28 Themes from this article are developed in our forthcoming book, A Time for Seeking: Philosophical Reflections on Living Well, to be published in 2015 by Columbia University Press.