Happiness: Emotion, Mood, or Character Trait

January 5, 2023 - January 6, 2023
Department of Philosophy, Birkbeck College, University of London

G22 Main Building
Malet Street
London wc1e 7hx
United Kingdom


  • Wellcome Trust - Birkbeck Institutional Strategic Support Fund


Birkbeck, University of London

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Speakers (titles and schedule TBA):

Lisa Bortolotti (Birmingham)

Dan Haybron (Saint Louis University)

MM McCabe (KCL)

Jonathan Mitchell (Cardiff)

Mark Textor (KCL) and Alex Grzankowski (Birkbeck)

Christine Vitrano (CUNY Brooklyn)

The event is part of a 3-part series:

Part 1: Southampton: “When is happiness appropriate?” (Autumn 2022)

Part 2: Birkbeck: “Happiness: Emotion, Mood, or Character Trait?” (Winter 2023)

Part 3: Glasgow: “Happiness and Achievement” (Spring 2023)

Workshop Theme:

Happiness: Emotion, Mood, or Character Trait

The view from 30,000 feet has it that there are two senses of ‘happiness’. In one sense, happiness is a psychological state. In a second sense, happiness concerns a life well lived (a life of value or flourishing). This very broad viewpoint quickly gives way to more specific questions. For example, what kind of psychological states is happiness? An emotion? A mood? And what constitutes a life well-lived? Is it something like a tick-box list of achievements, a matter of feeling good most of the time? Depending on how one thinks of the broad senses of happiness, the distance between them can look lesser or greater. 

This workshop has a dual-aspect theme. First, focusing on the psychological sense of ‘happiness’, is happiness an emotion, a mood, or a character trait (or something else altogether)? Second, might conceiving of happiness as something with more duration than an emotion (such as a mood or a character trait) bring the broad senses closer together?

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December 30, 2022, 5:00pm BST

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University of Southampton

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