Can we be happy?  At times, looking around in our twenty-first century world, it would seem that “happiness” is a contingent, fleeting and difficult-to-grasp matter more of luck than of choice and action.  Such a view stems from an implicitly nihilistic worldview, one unconsciously imbibed by many today, in which meaning is imposed upon the realities which extrinsically act upon us.  The result of this worldview—this effort to burden the human being with creating the meaning for all the universe—is a deep, gnawing grief at the inevitable failure and ever-more-extreme attempts at improving anesthetics to dull this pain.  To the contrary of this sadly inverted worldview, this seminar will look at the philosophical treatments of those in the tradition of the ancients and medievals who construe happiness as an inward possession whereby the human person acts outwardly for the sake of attaining real goods meaningful in themselves.


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Happiness, as we will see, requires not only a development of virtue but a right-orientation of the self in relation to the world in which one lives: a discovery of the relations of fittingness through which we may receive from the world, but by which we may also extend the goodness we possess into the world: a realization of not only moral rectitude but delight, and joy, through leisure and contemplation.

In this seminar, lasting 8 weeks (see here for more information on all Lyceum Institute seminars), we will discuss a range of texts which speak to how we might conduct ourselves for the sake of having a good life. This is an entry-level seminar suitable for any who have had some exposure to philosophical thinking.

WHEN: Saturdays from 16 January through 6 March 2021, from 3:00-4:00pm Eastern Time US.

A SECOND session will be scheduled at 9:15-10:15am Eastern Time US if there is sufficient interest.

WHERE: on the Lyceum Institute platform run through Microsoft Teams.

Lyceum Institute seminar costs are structured on a principal of financial subsidiarity. This seminar in particular has only two recommended levels of cost: $20 for those under the age of 30, and $50 for those over. Pay what you can, based on where you are in life–if you can afford $50, this will help pay for those who cannot. Lyceum Institute members will have free access to this seminar.

Registration is closed.

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