Welfare, Well-Being, and Happiness


Normative legal theory is concerned with the ends and justifications for the law as a whole and for particular legal rules.  Previous entries in the legal have examined exemplars of the three great traditions in normative theory–consequentialist, deontological, and aretaic (or virtue-centered) perspectives.  There are important differences between these three families of theories at a very general and abstract level: for example, deontologists emphasize rights and wrongs while consequentialists emphasize the goodness or badness of states of affairs.  And there are differences between particular theories within the broad families: within consequentialism, for example, welfarists emphasize preference satisfaction, whereas hedonistic utiliarians emphasize pleasure and pain…

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