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Best Within Us: Positive Psychology Perspectives on Eudaimonia

by Alan S Waterman American Psychological Association
Pub Date:
Hbk 303 pages
AU$159.00 NZ$164.35
Product Status: In Stock Now
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& Academics:
The Best Within Us assembles a panel of distinguished scholars whose work has been central to understanding positive aspects of psychological functioning. Together, the chapters explore the many ways in which the philosophic concept of eudaimonia is being employed in psychology.

Eudaimonia is defined in this volume as:

Realization of potentials reflecting the true self
Happiness that comes from the pursuit of virtue/excellence

Although philosophy continues to pit hedonism and eudaimonism against one another, theoretical and empirical work in psychology leads to the conclusion that eudaimonic functioning is the most reliable basis for life satisfaction. The source of happiness plays the greatest role in the outcomes obtained.

Chapters in this volume also reveal that eudaimonic functioning not only yields quality of life benefits to the individual, it also benefits others in the person's life and extended community. Individuals whose behaviors reflect eudaimonic functioning have demonstrably closer, more caring, and more intimate personal relationships, and engage more extensively in a wide range of prosocial activities.

This book is for personality and social psychologists with a teaching and research interest in positive psychology, well-being, happiness, self-acceptance and self-esteem, identity, meaning in life, self-determination and autonomy, and motivation. Psychologists examining the intersections of psychology with philosophy will find much of interest here. This book is also for philosophers, sociologists, and political scientists, and graduate students seeking research ideas pertaining to quality of life.




Introduction: Considering the Nature of a Life Well-Lived: Intersections of Positive Psychology and Eudaimonist Philosophy
Alan S. Waterman

1.Recipes for a Good Life: Eudaimonism and the Contribution of Philosophy
Valerie Tiberius2.Feelings, Meanings and Optimal Functioning: Some Distinctions Between Hedonic and Eudaimonic Well-Being
Joar Vittersø3.What Humans Need: Flourishing in Aristotelian Philosophy and Self-Determination Theory
Richard M. Ryan, Randall R. Curren, and Edward L. Deci4.Eudaimonic Well-Being and Health: Mapping Consequences of Self-Realization
Carol D. Ryff5.Eudaimonic Identity Theory
Alan S. Waterman and Seth J. Schwartz6.Individual Daimon, Universal Needs, and Subjective Well-Being: Happiness as the Natural Consequence of a Life Well Lived
Kennon M. Sheldon7.Pursuing Eudaimonia versus Hedonia: Distinctions, Similarities, and Relationships
Veronika Huta8.Is Meaning in Life a Flagship Indicator of Well-Being?
Michael F. Steger, Joo Yeon Shin, Yerin Shim, and Arissa Fitch-Martin9.Passion and Optimal Functioning in Society: A Eudaimonic Perspective
Robert J. Vallerand10.The Importance of Who You Really Are: The Role of the True Self in Eudaimonia
Rebecca J. Schlegel, Kelly A. Hirsch, and Christine M. Smith11.Cross-Cultural Perceptions of Meaning and Goals in Adulthood: Their Roots and Relations with Happiness
Antonella Delle Fave, Marié Wissing, Ingrid Brdar, Dianne Vella-Broderick, and Teresa Freire12.Discovering Positive Lives and Futures: Adolescent Eudaimonic Expression Through Activity Involvement
J. Douglas Coatsworth and Erin Hiley Sharp13.Human Strengths and Well-Being: Finding the Best Within Us at the Intersection of Eudaimonic Philosophy, Humanistic Psychology and Positive Psychology
P. Alex LinleyAbout the Editor


Alan S. Waterman is a personality and developmental psychologist. He received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1966. He is currently Professor Emeritus in Psychology at The College of New Jersey. He has served as President of the Society of Research in Identity Formation (SRIF) and is currently serving as Editor of Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research, a journal sponsored by SRIF. He is a Fellow in APA's Divisions 7 and 24. His interests include the philosophical foundations of personality theories and empirical research on identity formation, the quality of identity choices and, more broadly, quality-of-life.