The topic of this Independent Study Thesis is human well-being. It is an inter-disciplinary work with a mathematical and a philosophical component. The project is motivated by our concern for the problematic conceptual framework and approach Joshanloo assumes in the article “Revisiting the Empirical Distinction Between Hedonic and Eudaimonic Aspects of Well-Being Using Exploratory Structural Equation Modeling”. The Thesis has seven chapters.

In Chapter 1, we aim to (1) give a summary of Joshanloo’s conceptual framework of well-being and his analysis approach, and (2) offer a philosophical critique of Joshanloo’s account. In addition, we propose that a framework of well-being needs to be comprehensive and integrated.

Chapter 2 – 4 constitute the mathematical discussion in this thesis. In Chapter 2, we set the purpose of the mathematical section as to explore whether the dataset Joshanloo uses in his study has a pre-given structure. Then, in Chapters 2 and 3, we introduce the needed background knowledge, viz., linear regression and factor analysis.

In Chapter 4, we perform Exploratory Factor Analysis on the dataset and find that it has a presumed structure, which is the same framework that Joshanloo adopts in his study.

Chapters 5 – 7 constitute the philosophical discussion in this thesis. In Chapters 5, we show that a hedonistic conception of well-being is false, because conceiving pleasure as the only non-instrumental value of life denies other inherently valuable activities that constitute human life.

In Chapter 6, we argue that an eudaimonic account of well-being is erroneous, because it fails to explain in what sense performing the uniquely human function is good or desirable, such that it constitutes well-being.

In Chapter 7, we offer an account of reconciling with a rough past in a way that renders the painful experience constitutive of well-being. We hope to use this chapter to demonstrate what an integrated account of well-being might look like.


Thomson, Garrett

Second Advisor

Frazier, Marian


Mathematics; Philosophy


Applied Ethics | Applied Mathematics

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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