Human flourishing: a conceptual analysis


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


If any concept is subject to the standards of judgement in our human form of life it is the notion of what it is to flourish. Yet what is clear is that in the understandable desire to improve human happiness, well-being, success and satisfaction, researchers often neglect the importance of normativity and context. What researchers are left with is some technical or theoretical, non-normative, concept with the gloss of a normative concept. The problem in the literature is that by technicalizing the concept and dislocating it from its everyday contexts without paying sufficient attention to the dynamic and changeable influence of use, language-games, normativity or occasion-sensitivity, the concept loses its meaning. This is important because of the potential for misapplying the concept in the areas of human knowledge, understanding, education, science and policy. Therefore, the case I make is that the concept demands much greater attention than is currently afforded and this thesis will provide that level of attention. Because there is no finite list of possibilities where someone might be said to flourish, the thesis will aim to strike a proper balance between the clarity needed in order to make sense of the term through connective analyses, whilst also exploring the vital contextual nuances and occasion-sensitivity that give richness, life and meaning to the concept.
Date of Award17 Jan 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Edge Hill University
SupervisorLEON CULBERTSON (Director of Studies) & DAMIEN SHORTT (Supervisor)


  • Concepts
  • Analysis
  • Wittgenstein
  • Human flourishing
  • Well-being
  • Wellbeing
  • Happiness
  • Hacker
  • Personal development
  • Agency
  • Self-knowledge
  • Philosophy
  • Education
  • Aristotle
  • Success
  • Conceptual analysis

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