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Mon, Jan 31


Clay Pit

It’s Not Selfish to Pursue One’s Own Happiness (Rightly Understood): Reconciling Platonic Eros with Christian Agape

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It’s Not Selfish to Pursue One’s Own Happiness (Rightly Understood):  Reconciling Platonic Eros with Christian Agape

Time & Location

Jan 31, 2022, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Clay Pit, 1601 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78701, USA

About The Event

Can the Christian ethic of selfless, self-sacrificial Agape be reconciled with the classical eudaemonism of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle? Thomas Aquinas attempted such a reconciliation, agreeing with the Greeks that one’s own happiness (eudaemonia/beatitude) is the ultimate end of all human action, and that self-love (eros) is the foundation of all other loves, while insisting (with the Christian tradition) that we are called to love God above self, and even to love oneself only for God’s sake. I will defend Aquinas’s harmonization against the charge of inconsistency, by distinguishing two ways in which something can be an “ultimate end”.

About our Scholar:

Professor Robert Koons, University of Texas at Austin

Professor Robert Koons specializes in philosophical logic and in the application of logic to long-standing philosophical problems, including metaphysics, philosophy of mind and intentionality, semantics, political philosophy and metaethics, and philosophy of religion. His book Paradoxes of Belief and Strategic Rationality (Cambridge, 1992) received the Aarlt Prize from the Council of Graduate Schools in 1994. He is the author of Realism Regained (OUP, 2000) and the co-editor (with George Bealer) of The Waning of Materialism (OUP, 2010). He is at work with Tim Pickavance on a textbook on metaphysics. He is working on analytic Aristotelianism and social ontology.

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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