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On the Promotion of Human Flourishing: Measuring Human Well-Being in the Social and Biomedical Sciences
November 5, 2018 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
A lecture by Tyler VanderWeele, an epidemologist of Harvard University. Response from Tom Nechbya of Duke. Abstract: Many empirical studies throughout the social and biomedical sciences focus only on very narrow outcomes such as income, or a single specific disease state, or a measure of positive affect. Human well-being or flourishing, however, consists in a much broader range of states and outcomes, certainly including mental and physical health, but also encompassing happiness and life satisfaction, meaning and purpose, character and virtue, and close social relationships. The empirical literature from longitudinal, experimental, and quasi-experimental studies is reviewed in attempt to identify major determinants of human flourishing, broadly conceived. Measures of human flourishing are proposed. Discussion is given to the implications of a broader conception of human flourishing, and of the research reviewed, for policy, and for future research in the biomedical and social sciences.