Happiness and Virtue: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

June 13, 2016 - June 14, 2016
Department of Philosophy, Trinity College Dublin

College Green

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  • School of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Tampere
  • Academy of Finland


Richard Kraut
Northwestern University


Antti Kauppinen
University of Tampere
Alice Pinheiro Walla
Trinity College Dublin

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The Department of Philosophy at Trinity College Dublin together with the School of Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Tampere will host a conference in Dublin on historical and contemporary perspectives on the relationship between happiness and virtue on June 13 and 14, 2016.

Recent years have seen a resurgence of interest in the nature and causes of happiness in philosophy and empirical sciences like psychology and economics. One of the key questions concerns the relationship between happiness and virtue, and more broadly non-selfish action. In the history of Western ethics, it was common at least until Kant to claim that we can’t be genuinely happy unless we are virtuous. Contemporary philosophers like Julia Annas, Philippa Foot, and Candace Vogler have defended related views. Happiness and virtue are associated also in some Asian philosophical traditions. More recently, some empirical research suggests that such traditional virtues as generosity and gratitude are associated with happiness. Yet it seems obvious to many now that wicked people can be happy, and that sometimes morality requires sacrifice of our own happiness. Our workshop seeks to understand both why so many philosophers have thought otherwise, and whether they were right to do so.

The keynote speaker for the conference will be

Richard Kraut (Northwestern)

Confirmed invited speakers include:

Ben Bramble (Lund University)

Antti Kauppinen (Academy of Finland/University of Tampere)

Paul O’Grady (Trinity College Dublin)

Alice Pinheiro Walla (University of Bayreuth/Trinity College Dublin)

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June 6, 2016, 5:00am IST

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