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Uniwersytet Śląski w Katowicach

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Wydział Humanistyczny

Wykład dra Wojciecha Kaftańskiego

22.03.2023 - 12:44, aktualizacja 22.03.2023 - 13:17
Redakcja: mn

Instytut Filozofii zaprasza na wykład dra Wojciecha Kaftańskiego (Uniwersytet Harvarda, Human Flourishing Program) zatytułowany: „Suffering and well-being in philosophy and positive psychology: integrating the subjective and objective aspects of well-being?”

Wykład odbędzie się w poniedziałek, 27 marca, o godz. 15.30 na platformie Zoom. Link do spotkania.

Identyfikator spotkania: 922 6523 5434
Kod dostępu: 997918

Wszelkie pytania proszę kierować do dra hab.Piotra Machury, prof. UŚ:

dr Wojciech Kaftański

dr Wojciech Kaftański

Suffering is perceived as inhibiting well-being in positive psychology; it should be minimized and, perhaps, eradicated from human life (Martin Seligman). Thus, we should either increase the frequency and the intensity of positive experiences that produce positive affects, or implement coping mechanisms that limit or mitigate the effects of suffering. This seems to a be a reasonable position: Being fearful, sad, and angry is not conducive to a well-lived life. Positive affects are context sensitive. Positive psychologists do not want us to feel delight when facing danger—we should experience fear as it informs us about threats we face. However, even when context sensitive, the optimal course of action is to increase positive affects and minimize if not eradicate negative ones.

In response to positive psychology, it has been argued (Michael Brady) that suffering is important for well-being, as it allows us to cultivate virtuous dispositions that are “good” for their own sake and it can prepare us for future encounters with suffering. The argument in the background of this line of thought is that suffering is not good as such. Another position that argues for the role of suffering for human well-being is that suffering generates the experience of self-transcendence and other transformative experiences important for a meaningful life. Suffering allows us to recalibrate our perspective on the world, see ourselves as part of a larger picture, help us deal with toxic individualism and toxic positivity (Paul T. Wong). The argument here is that suffering keeps us in check. If we did not experience suffering, we would not be able to live balanced lives. Meaning-making is another perspective on suffering. Meaning-making is about strategic adjustment in the context of suffering that results from hardships. Meaning-making can be global and situational; it includes “meaning made” and “meaning-making efforts” (Crystal L. Park).

In this presentation I argue that suffering is important for well-being for 3 reasons. These reasons are tangentially close to but also coherent with some of the signaled perspectives on the role of suffering in well-being.

  1. Suffering is an important and ultimately ineliminable part of human life that results from a clash between the subjective dimension of human existence and the objectivity of the human condition and the world we inhabit.
  2. Suffering is entailed in the project of human becoming that is temporal in nature. Suffering results from our efforts to bring into harmony or constructive dialogue who we are today and who we see ourselves as being in the future. The tension between the two temporal dimensions of human life is the source of psychological-existential suffering essential to human development.
  3. Suffering allows individuals to consider opportunities for developing such well-being factors as meaning of life and authenticity. Importantly, these factors offer a promising perspective on a view of well-being that successfully integrates its subjective and objective dimensions in philosophy and psychology.
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