Cory Brown (Writing) Publishes Essay on the Pursuit of Happiness


Contributed by Cory Brown

This long treatment appears in the proceedings of an international Arts & Humanities conference in Hawaii--I'll present it in January. It covers a lot of contemporary cognitive studies on the topic, liberally referencing what classical philosophers have said about it, and it's also sprinkled with personal reflection. It first discusses social factors of happiness, such as money, marriage, children, etc., and then psychological factors, such as personal values and religious beliefs. Then it explores more philosophical issues, such as how best to define and measure happiness (should we conflate it with virtue, as classical philosophers do); what is its relationship to melancholy and to the perception of beauty; and, finally, is it something we should even try to pursue--is there any value in thinking of it as a goal, especially given that our cognitive habits make it so elusive.

The analysis comes from my many years studying the topic and of teaching a course on it in our Honors Program.