This page features a collection of the best resources on well-being and the good life. Just to be clear, there is no single best resource on what it means to live a good life. The best one will depend on your preferred learning style and the amount of time you want to spend learning about it.
To get started, simply choose one of the links below:
If you want an academic overview of what it means to live a good life:
- Read the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Well-Being. However, you should keep in mind that the SEP is often quite technical and this article may be difficult for beginners. It’s also quite long at around 6400 words. Here’s a short excerpt that introduces the idea of well-being:
“Well-being is most commonly used in philosophy to describe what is non-instrumentally or ultimately good for a person. The question of what well-being consists in is of independent interest, but it is of great importance in moral philosophy, especially in the case of utilitarianism, according to which the only moral requirement is that well-being be maximized. Significant challenges to the very notion have been mounted, in particular by G.E. Moore and T.M. Scanlon. It has become standard to distinguish theories of well-being as either hedonist theories, desire theories, or objective list theories. According to the view known as welfarism, well-being is the only value. Also important in ethics is the question of how a person’s moral character and actions relate to their well-being. . . .”
If you’re looking for a somewhat shorter and more engaging introduction:
If you’d prefer a video introduction:
- Watch Chris Suprenant discuss Plato’s Conception of The Good Life in this video by Wireless Philosophy [6 mins]
If you prefer audio and podcasts:
- Listen to Susan Neiman discuss Morality in the 21st Century on the Philosophy Bites podcast [18 mins]
Unfortunately, there’s only so much you can learn by using free online resources. If you want to learn more, check out this list of the best books on Well-being and the Good Life.
For more introductory philosophy resources and reading lists check out this collection of Resources and Reading Lists.