Explore what makes us happy with the help of some of the great philosophers at this class with Dr Clare Carlisle, senior lecturer at King’s College London and Guardian columnist
What is happiness? It’s a simple question, but finding an answer can take a lifetime. Does it mean pleasure or contentment, fulfilment or fun? What are the obstacles to being happy and how can we overcome them?
This class will offer lessons in happiness from some of the great philosophers – Plato and Aristotle, Spinoza and Kierkegaard – who gave very different answers to these questions. We will explore their philosophical ideas alongside our own life experience to gain a deeper understanding of who we are and what makes us happy.
Combining theoretical notions with practical techniques, such as relaxation and mindfulness, this class is a chance to learn about philosophy while also examining our own motivations, thoughts and desires.
- The question of happiness
- A mindfulness exercise
- Happiness according to Plato and Aristotle
- What is happiness? Exploring different concepts, including pleasure, fulfilment, contentment, joy and fun
- Happiness according to Spinoza
- “Happy hour”: if we were given a free hour, how would we spend it? And what does it reveal about us?
- Happiness according to Kierkegaard
- Obstacles to happiness
Dr Clare Carlisle is senior lecturer at King’s College London, where she teaches philosophy, religion and ethics. Her books include Kierkegaard: A Guide for the Perplexed and On Habit, and she is currently writing a book on Spinoza’s philosophy and a biography of Søren Kierkegaard. She is interested in the connections between philosophy and “spiritual but not religious” practices, such as meditation and mindfulness. She has written numerous articles for the Guardian, including a series on Kierkegaard, Spinoza and Bertrand Russell, and articles on the topics of happiness and evil.
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