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Tue, Jan 25 | Austin Institute

How and How Not to Be Happy

The West is facing a happiness crisis. Today, less than a quarter of American adults rate themselves as very happy—a new low. False views of happiness abound, and the explosion in “happiness studies” has done little to dispel them. Why is true happiness so elusive, and why is it so hard to define?
How and How Not to Be Happy

Time & Location

Jan 25, 7:00 PM – Feb 15, 8:30 PM
Austin Institute, 3206 Fairfax Walk, Austin, TX 78705, USA

About The Event

The West is facing a happiness crisis. Today, less than a quarter of American adults rate themselves as very happy—a record low.  False views of happiness abound, and the explosion in “happiness studies” has done little to dispel them.  Why is true happiness so elusive, and why is it so hard to define?

In this compact seminar, we will dispel the myths and wishful thinking that blind people and prevent them from uncovering lasting fulfillment.

Could happiness lie in health, wealth, responsibility, or pleasure?  Should we settle for imperfect happiness?  What would it even mean to attain perfect fulfillment?  We will separate the wheat from the chaff, exploring how to attain happiness—and just as importantly, how not to.

About Our Scholar

J. Budziszewski

Professor of Government and Philosophy, University of Texas at Austin

J. Budziszewski (Ph.D. Yale, 1981) is a professor of government and philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. His main area of research is the natural moral law, in which he is best known for his work on moral self-deception – on what happens when we tell ourselves that we don't know what we really do know. Among his other research interests are moral character, family and sexuality, religion and public life, toleration and liberty, and the unraveling of our common culture.

Budziszewski tries to compose his scholarly work in such a way that it is accessible to general readers, and his work for general readers in such a way that it offers something to scholars. Representative of his books in the former category are Commentary on Thomas Aquinas's Treatise on Law and Commentary on Thomas Aquinas’s Virtue Ethics (Cambridge), as well as The Line Through the Heart: Natural Law as Fact, Theory, and Sign of Contradiction (ISI Books).

Representative of those in the latter category are What We Can’t Not Know: A Guide(Ignatius) and On the Meaning of Sex (ISI Books). Presently he is writing a book about happiness and ultimate purpose.

About this year's theme for our programs: Happiness

We all want to be happy, but what does it mean to live a happy life and how does one get there?

This spring, the Austin Institute events will try to answer these questions. Looking at what lies at the root of any form of human flourishing, our speakers will help us navigate these issues in the broadest and yet deepest way. We will look at happiness through the eyes of philosophy, law, sociology, and literature. Hopefully, this will be an occasion to grow in happiness together,learning what it is that we should be starving for in this life.

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