12 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2007
Date Written: June 22, 2007
This paper argues that the agenda for positive psychology laid out by Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman in their massive work Character Strengths and Virtues: a Handbook and Classification (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004) might be improved by making several conceptual changes: 1) by developing general concepts of virtue (singular), and of positive health to clarify the relationships between specific virtues and competing conceptions of positive health; 2) by aligning the project more firmly with eudaimonistic accounts of virtue that fit comfortably with scientific psychology; and 3) by aligning the project more firmly with the health sciences than with ethics and philosophy generally.
The paper was developed from a talk prepared for the Working Conference on The Philosophical History of Character Strengths and Virtues, The University of Pennsylvania, September 2-4, 2004. It is currently under review for publication in a book of papers coming out of that conference.
Keywords: health, positive health, psychological health, eudaimonism, virtue
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