TRAMES 1/2, 3, 1999

Valdar Parve. Well-being: an essentially fuzzy concept

University of Tartu


'Well-being' is a part of professional conceptual network, which refers to both physical and mental states of an individual and some societal conditions of human life as well. There is no single meaning for the term 'well-being' among the professionals. Nevertheless, the term 'well-being' plays significant role in the World Health Organisation papers. Though well-being has an objective component, identical in dissimilar environ-ments: in macrosocial (e.g. in the established countries and in the countries of post-socialist transition as well) and in microsocial (e.g. in local cultural and linguistic groups), similar particular inputs cause diverse results in dissimilar environments. Well-being has also a necessary subjective component. This does not exclude the idea that the subjective component of well-being may be causally determined by the factors from outside any particular human body. Local linguistic practices, playing language games, and language transition process are different in dissimilar social environments. They have an impact on peoples' subjective well-being and they influence peoples' understanding of well-being both in particular and in general. Caution is necessary in applying the locally effective measures of well-being and means for multiplying well-being globally. Conceptual misunderstandings connected with the obscure term cause the rejection of locally effective means and acceptance of ineffective means for the increase of well-being.

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