Achievement, enjoyment, and the things we care about: A theory of personal well-being
This dissertation develops a theory of personal well-being---i.e., a theory of what is it for a person's life to go well for them. The proposed theory is called "the successful activity view of well-being." It is an end-neutral account of individual welfare that primarily values the pursuit, achievement, and enjoyment of ends that are important to (i.e., valued by) a person. The parts of this process---e.g., the pursuit of ends, the achievement of ends, the enjoyment of activities and situations, and even the satisfaction of desires for situations---are also of some significance for a person's level of well-being when actualized separately. I argue that previous end-neutral accounts of well-being, such as hedonism and desire-satisfactionism, are open to damaging objections because pleasures and desires can fail to coincide with a person's values. I also argue that the successful activity view has greater unity, explanatory power, and ontological economy than any form of perfectionism or any hybridized theory of wellbeing currently on offer.