Preference Theory and Well-Being Essay

Preference Theory and Well-Being Essay

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A preference theory is a philosophical theory that the fulfilment of preferences is the only thing that matters in contributing to well-being. Well-being can be seen as what people ultimately want to achieve; the “ultimate good”1. In terms of preference theory, for you to reach the state of well-being then you must have your preferences satisfied. Preference theories can be split into two distinct categories, actual preference theory and ideal preference theory2. Actual preference theory deals with preferences people actually have, regardless of misinformation or irrationality, while ideal preference theory is interested in what we would “hypothetically” prefer, if we were completely informed and rational3. In this essay, I will be arguing against the account of well-being that actual preference theory posits, and attempt to prove that it is incorrect by showing that the fulfilment of preferences does not always have consequences that are conducive to well-being, and therefore that actual preference theory's account of well-being is ultimately wrong

Actual preference theory states that well-being can be produced by having your preferences satisfied. Thereby, if your preference is satisfied you are inevitably better off, because as a result of the fulfilment of your preference you experience well-being. Therefore it seems undeniable to claim that, according to preference theory, you must experience well-being if your preference is fulfilled. However, this account of well-being seems to have a serious flaw. If an agent is unaware of the fulfilment of their preference, do they still experience well-being? Logic and rationality would have to tell us no, however actual preference theory appears to disagree with this claim, and i...

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...oncept of well-being. Overall, the amalgamation of the inconsistencies and errors I have attempted to highlight with my arguments I think prove my original hypothesis, that actual preference theory does not offer the correct account of well-being, because the arguments show that the fulfilment of a preference does not always produce consequences that are conducive to

Word count: 2134

1. Crisp, Roger, "Well-Being",The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Summer 2013 Edition),EdwardN.Zalta (ed.),URL=.
2. Kagan,
3. Feldman,

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