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Tue, Feb 22


Austin Institute

The Classical Ideal of Happiness: On Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and Some Modern Alternatives

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The Classical Ideal of Happiness: On Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and Some Modern Alternatives

Time & Location

Feb 22, 2022, 7:00 PM CST – Mar 22, 2022, 8:30 PM CDT

Austin Institute, 3206 Fairfax Walk, Austin, TX 78705, USA

About The Event

Dr. Dana Stauffer and Dr. Erik Dempsey of the University of Texas at Austin will be leading this seminar on Aristotle's understanding of happiness. The first, second, and fourth seminars will treat passages from Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, with the third one on some modern alternatives to the Aristotelian ideal.

About Our Scholars

Dr. Dana Jalbert Stauffer

Ph.D., University of Toronto

Associate Professor of Instruction

Dr. Stauffer specializes in political theory. Her particular research interests include the history of political thought, especially classical political thought, and women in political thought. Before coming to the University of Texas, she taught at Kenyon College.

Dr. Erik Dempsey

Ph.D., Boston College

Lecturer and Assistant Director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas

Dr. Dempsey is the Assistant Director of UT's Thomas Jefferson for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas.  He completed his doctorate at Boston College in June 2007.  He is interested in understanding human virtue, and the proper place of politics in a well-lived human life, the different ways in which human virtue is understood in different political situations, and the ways in which human virtue may transcend any political situation.  His dissertation looks at Aristotle's treatment of prudence in the Nicomachean Ethics, and Aristotle's suggestion that virtue should be understood as an end in itself.   He is currently at work turning his dissertation into a book by adding chapters which consider Thomas Aquinas' interpretation of Aristotle in terms of natural law, and Marsilius of Padua's critique of Thomas.  He grew up in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY and graduated from Hastings High School.  As an undergraduate, he attended St. John's College in Annapolis, MD where he began to study the Great Books seriously.  From June 2000 until August 2001, he worked for DynCorp in Chantilly, VA, doing mathematical modeling and providing other support for the GETS program.  From September 2007 - May 2008, he taught in the Herbst Program for the Humanities at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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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