There are two main philosophies of well-being: active and passive. The active philosophy of well-being tells us that happiness and flourishing come from striving and achievement. It’s best embodied by Aristotle, who defines happiness as “an activity of the soul in accordance with virtue”. The key word there is activity – Aristotle thinks we are Read more…

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One of the interesting things about the politics of well-being is how, in the UK, it began as a movement on the Left, through figures like Geoff Mulgan (the head of Blair’s policy unit), and Richard Layard, but then managed to cross over and become a cross-party consensus, both in the Lib Dems (through people Read more…

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Yesterday I described what I think is the new consensus in philosophy, psychology and public policy: Neo-Aristotelianism. This ideology / view-of-the-world argues: We can know ourselves and change ourselves using our reason We can create new habits of thinking, feeling and acting We can build more flourishing lives The search for flourishing is social, communal Read more…

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People keep asking what’s the next ‘big idea’. The philosophy festival How The Light Gets In, in Hay-On-Wye next month, has a whole session devoted to ‘the end of big ideas’ (well..for you maybe!)  The philosopher Bryan Appleyard likewise opined on Twitter: ‘The centre left dream of Europe is dead, neo-liberalism is dead, neo-conservatism is Read more…

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Two news stories caught my eye this weekend. Firstly, the British government wants to launch a voucher scheme so every parent can take parenting classes from a range of providers. One of them is called the Parenting Gym, and is owned by Octavius Black, the millionaire school-chum of David Cameron’s, who made his fortune through Read more…

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