The Best Within Us: Positive Psychology Perspectives on Eudaimonia

Pages: 303
Item #: 4318113
ISBN: 978-1-4338-1261-3
List Price: $59.95
Member/Affiliate Price: $49.95
Copyright: 2013
Format: Hardcover
Availability: In Stock
FREE Shipping

For individuals in the U.S. & U.S. territories


The Best Within Us assembles a panel of distinguished scholars whose work has been central to understanding positive aspects of psychological functioning. Together, the chapters explore the many ways in which the philosophic concept of eudaimonia is being employed in psychology.

Eudaimonia is defined in this volume as:

  • Flourishing
  • Realization of potentials reflecting the true self
  • Happiness that comes from the pursuit of virtue/excellence

Although philosophy continues to pit hedonism and eudaimonism against one another, theoretical and empirical work in psychology leads to the conclusion that eudaimonic functioning is the most reliable basis for life satisfaction. The source of happiness plays the greatest role in the outcomes obtained.

Chapters in this volume also reveal that eudaimonic functioning not only yields quality of life benefits to the individual, it also benefits others in the person's life and extended community. Individuals whose behaviors reflect eudaimonic functioning have demonstrably closer, more caring, and more intimate personal relationships, and engage more extensively in a wide range of prosocial activities.

This book is for personality and social psychologists with a teaching and research interest in positive psychology, well-being, happiness, self-acceptance and self-esteem, identity, meaning in life, self-determination and autonomy, and motivation. Psychologists examining the intersections of psychology with philosophy will find much of interest here. This book is also for philosophers, sociologists, and political scientists, and graduate students seeking research ideas pertaining to quality of life.

Table of Contents



Introduction: Considering the Nature of a Life Well Lived — Intersections of Positive Psychology and Eudaimonist Philosophy
Alan S. Waterman

  1. Recipes for a Good Life: Eudaimonism and the Contribution of Philosophy
    Valerie Tiberius
  2. Feelings, Meanings and Optimal Functioning: Some Distinctions Between Hedonic and Eudaimonic Well-Being
    Joar Vittersø
  3. What Humans Need: Flourishing in Aristotelian Philosophy and Self-Determination Theory
    Richard M. Ryan, Randall R. Curren, and Edward L. Deci
  4. Eudaimonic Well-Being and Health: Mapping Consequences of Self-Realization
    Carol D. Ryff
  5. Eudaimonic Identity Theory
    Alan S. Waterman and Seth J. Schwartz
  6. Individual Daimon, Universal Needs, and Subjective Well-Being: Happiness as the Natural Consequence of a Life Well Lived
    Kennon M. Sheldon
  7. Pursuing Eudaimonia Versus Hedonia: Distinctions, Similarities, and Relationships
    Veronika Huta
  8. Is Meaning in Life a Flagship Indicator of Well-Being?
    Michael F. Steger, Joo Yeon Shin, Yerin Shim, and Arissa Fitch-Martin
  9. Passion and Optimal Functioning in Society: A Eudaimonic Perspective
    Robert J. Vallerand
  10. The Importance of Who You Really Are: The Role of the True Self in Eudaimonia
    Rebecca J. Schlegel, Kelly A. Hirsch, and Christina M. Smith
  11. Cross-Cultural Perceptions of Meaning and Goals in Adulthood: Their Roots and Relations With Happiness
    Antonella Delle Fave, Marié Wissing, Ingrid Brdar, Dianne Vella-Broderick, and Teresa Freire
  12. Discovering Positive Lives and Futures: Adolescent Eudaimonic Expression Through Activity Involvement
    J. Douglas Coatsworth and Erin Hiley Sharp
  13. Human Strengths and Well-Being: Finding the Best Within Us at the Intersection of Eudaimonic Philosophy, Humanistic Psychology, and Positive Psychology
    P. Alex Linley


About the Editor

Editor Bio
Alan S. Waterman, PhD, is a personality and developmental psychologist. He received his doctorate in clinical psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1966. He is currently Professor Emeritus in Psychology at The College of New Jersey. He has served as president of the Society of Research in Identity Formation (SRIF) and is currently serving as editor of Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research, a journal sponsored by SRIF. He is a fellow in APA Divisions 7 (Developmental Psychology) and 24 (Society for Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology). His interests include the philosophical foundations of personality theories and empirical research on identity formation; the quality of identity choices; and, more broadly, quality-of-life.
Reviews & Awards

Waterman's book is extremely informative and does an excellent job of addressing some of the criticisms of the field. The Best Within Us manages to successfully combine disparate fields to help one understand the components of eudaimonia and some of its effects.

A useful volume for those with an interest in the study, assessment, and promotion of people's full potential. Its inclusion of contributions from both psychologists and philosophers increases the accessibility of this volume for those from diverse backgrounds…As a self-proclaimed adherent to the subjective well-being approach, I found that this volume challenged and expanded my concept of well-being.
Quality of Life Research

The distinguished scholars who wrote the chapters in this collection were all asked to address how philosophical ideas have provided a foundation for their work. The result for the reader is to gain an appreciation of the breadth of what is meant by eudaimonic functioning.
—CHOICE Magazine