Research

My main research projects can be divided in two parts.

Wellbeing in Science

Can science tell us what is good for us. Can it answer questions such as: do we have a higher degree of wellbeing today than people did 40 years ago? Or can it teach us which life choices are best for us, just like it can say that some lifestyle choices are healthy? In my research I assess this question within different theories about what wellbeing is. As I argue, on most plausible theories of wellbeing, measuring wellbeing is hard, though different theories of wellbeing face different challenges. Overall, I argue that many of the controversial questions about what is good for us cannot be resolved scientifically.

What is wellbeing?

The debate about what makes a life good for the person who is living that life is as old as philosophy itself. Is there any progress to be made here? I think so. I currently work on developing and defending a theory on which our wellbeing is constituted by good experiences. The goodness of experiences, I argue, is not limited to pleasure, but extends to experiencing love, novelty and understanding of the world.

Other interests

Besides human wellbeing, I also have a research interest in desert (which I sometimes work on with Huub Brouwer), philosophy of social science, and animal wellbeing.