CFP: Cross-Cultural Studies in Well-Being


Final Submission Deadline: September 1, 2017

500 word proposals will be received until October 15, 2016

Special Issue Title: Cross-cultural Studies in Well-Being a special journal issue in Science, Religion & Culture, an international peer reviewed open access journal.

Guest edited by: Prof. Owen Flanagan and Dr. Wenqing Zhao, The Center for Comparative Philosophy, Duke University, Durham, NC USA 27708

The study of well-being is a lively topic in science as well as in philosophy and religious studies. Major questions include:

  • What is well-being?
  • What makes for a good human life?
  • Is it the total amount of hedonic pleasure?
  • A sense of subjective fulfillment?
  • Something objective?
  • What does well-being have to do with happiness?
  • To what extent is well-being a matter of having meaning and purpose?
  • Is religious faith predictive of well-being?
  • Are true beliefs predictive of well-being?
  • Does well-being have certain universal features, conditions?
  • If so, what are these universal features?
  • Are some of the goods that make for well-being internal to different cultural-philosophical-and religious traditions?

This special issue seeks articles of 4000-6000 words that explore questions of well-being. We focus on the last question on the list above: Are some of the goods that make for well-being internal to different cultural-philosophical and religious traditions? In particular, we are interested in papers that explore conceptions of well-being that are not WEIRD (Western-Educated-Industrialized-Rich-Democratic), including but not limited to Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Daoist, Confucian and Muslim traditions, that try to do either of two things:

1.     Reveal how a specific philosophical or religious tradition conceives well-being generally or a specific aspect of well-being that puts pressure of the scientific study of well-being, at least insofar as the science of well-being tries to identify trans-cultural features of well-being.

2.     Reveals insights or resources in some specific or religious tradition for thinking about well-being that ought to be noticed and discussed in the scientific or philosophical literature on well-being, but that receives insufficient attention.

We will generally favor articles that critically focus on one of the following things that is claimed by some tradition to be good for, even necessary for, well-being: a single cultural practice, a moral or epistemic virtue, a special economy of emotion, or a distinctive notion of self or agency. Examples might include practices that involve communal religious rituals, or personal virtues such as ahimsa (non-violence) in certain Indic traditions, or generational gratitude in Confucianism, or beliefs about how community makes for identity in the Southern African concept of Ubuntu; or in the theological virtue of religious hope in Islam. The overall aim is to advance the current scientific and philosophical study of well-being by adding fine-grained analysis of particular goods from particular traditions.

Book reviews and research notes will also be considered and encouraged. All submissions must follow Science, Religion & Culture-Author Guidelines or they will be declined without review.

There are two stages for submission: Please attach a cover page with author(s) and institutional information as a separate file with the submission of your proposal.  

1. Send a 500 word proposal by October 15, 2016 to Dr. Wenqing Zhao (  Proposals will be refereed and then invitations issued.

2. Invited contributors should send their final manuscript by Sept 1, 2017 to Dr. Wenqing Zhao (