This module will survey the central philosophical accounts of well-being, and examine potential subjective and objective dimensions of well-being.
We will then critically consider the relation between these philosophical theories and recent empirical work aiming to measure well-being and happiness, including work on Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) and Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYS).
We will then turn to investigate the relation between well-being and disability. Does disability necessarily reduce well-being? We will consider empirical data that casts doubt on this assumption, and assess competing accounts of disability, such as the medical and social models.
In the last part of the module, we will turn to the debate about human enhancement. We will review the current state of the science, from CRISPR gene-editing techniques to transcranial direct-current stimulation. Should we use such methods to radically enhance human capacities, making people who are smarter, happier or even more moral? Might such technologies lead us to a ‘posthuman’ future? We will consider views on both sides to this debate, and ask whether it sheds new light on what it means to be human.