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Peace in Motion

John Dewey and the Aesthetics of Well-Being


Yoram Lubling and Eric Evans

In this book Yoram Lubling and Eric Evans offer a Deweyan reconstruction of our philosophical understanding of well-being. They begin with Dewey’s critique of the «philosophical fallacy» to examine the legitimacy and value of theories of well-being offered by traditional philosophy. However, such theories fail to provide an authentic account of well-being due to a false understanding of experience as either epistemic or cognitive. Next, using Dewey’s theory of experience, they reconstruct «happiness» as the target for evaluation of well-being. This leads them to reject the traditional view of a private encapsulated self, and to offer in its place a transactionally situated self which is an embodied, enculturated agent. Through their emphasis on the importance of the qualitative aspects of Dewey’s understanding of a situation, the pervasive quality of the situation emerges as the most plausible criterion for the evaluation of well-being. The authors use Dewey’s theories of inquiry, ethics, value and art to establish the naturalistic conditions under which such pervasive quality enters into a situation as either settled or unsettled, in other words, as peace in motion. Consequently, a problematic situation becomes the primary condition under which all inquiry initiates whether it is in the context of science, ethics, values, art or ordinary living. Lubling and Evans conclude that a Deweyan account of well-being involves embodied knowing instead of the traditional view of cognitive knowledge. By using such an account, it is possible to explain the conditions and mechanisms under which well-being contributes to the enlargement and enrichment of individual and collective human experience.
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2 The Falsification of Well-Being


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The Falsification of Well-Being

For irrespective of whether a satisfaction is conscious, a satisfaction or non-satisfaction is an objective thing with objective conditions. Happiness may mark an awareness of such satisfaction, and it may be its culmination form. But satisfaction is not subjective, private or personal; it is conditioned by objective particularities and defections and made real by objective situations and completions.

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