Summer 2012 Conference

The IDEA CETL will be hosting the conference entitled "Measures of Subjective Well-being for Public Policy: Philosophical Perspectives."  It will be held from 13-15 July 2012, at the University of Leeds

Measures of happiness and subjective well-being are beginning to attract the attention of public policy makers, especially in the UK with the development of the National Index of Well-being.  Measures of subjective well-being purportedly measure “more of what matters”, in contrast to other measures of well-being, such as GDP.  For this reason, such measures could potentially be used to evaluative and develop public policy, as well as provide a more meaningful measure of a nation’s progress. 

This inter-disciplinary international conference will look at the philosophical foundations of using measures of subjective well-being to inform and appraise public policy.  There are many philosophical issues involved in such a practice, which have so far been relatively unexplored.  These include:

  • How do measures of subjective well-being relate to philosophical accounts of happiness and well-being?      
  • Are subjective well-being measures valid and prudentially relevant, and are they intra- and inter-personally comparable? 
  • How do measures of subjective well-being relate to other measures of well-being, such as GDP?  Can we compare these different kinds of measures? 
  • How can and should measures of subjective well-being be used to monitor progress, inform policy design, and appraise policy? 
  • Do such measures lead towards a new kind of political utilitarianism?