Normative theory and psychological research: Hedonism, eudaimonism, and why it matters

Valerie Tiberius, Alicia Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


This article is a contribution to the debate about eudaimonism started by Kashdan et al. and Waterman in a previous issue of The Journal of Positive Psychology [Kashdan, T.B., Biswas-Diener, R., & King, L.A. (2008). Reconsidering happiness: The costs of distinguishing between hedonics and eudaimonia. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 3(4), 219-233; Waterman, A.S. (2008). Reconsidering happiness: A eudaimonist's perspective. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 3(4), 234-252]. We point out that one thing that is missing from this debate is an understanding of the problems with subjective theories of well-being that motivate a turn to objective theories. A better understanding of the rationale for objective theories helps us to see what is needed from a theory of well-being. We then argue that a suitably modified subjective theory can provide what is needed and that this is the theory that ought to be favored by psychologists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-225
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Positive Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2010

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2010 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Eudaimonia
  • Happiness
  • Hedonism
  • Subjective well-being
  • Theory
  • Values
  • Well-being


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