Saturday, September 24
2:30-4:30 pm

Past Event

Call no man happy until he is dead.

 – Solon of Athens (c. 640 – c. 560 BCE)

“Happiness” may be understood in prosaic and philosophic senses: as referring to a moment of experience or the entirety of a life; as referring to a psychological state of mind, relating to pleasurable emotions, as well as referring to a life regarded as going well, flourishing, for the individual leading it, and as such, a prudential value judgement of ultimate goods. Is one’s contentedness with one’s life the sole measure of a life going well? Is the pleasure one gets good or is one’s getting it the thing that makes it good (in other words, is it good for oneself because it seems good to oneself)? How does one’s happiness comport with the welfare of others? Are some pleasures more valuable than others? Is happiness necessary for a good life?

The above questions are a mere sampling of the many ways our roundtable will explore the meaning of happiness and the profound epistemological questions of ethics it evokes, as well as consider the role of positive psychology in raising awareness and provoking controversies regarding the ways we define and measure happiness and thence shape socioeconomic theories and policies.


Alberto Bisin

Professor of Economics, New York University

Alberto Bisin is Professor of Economics at New York University. He is an Elected Fellow of the Econometric Society. He is also a fellow of the NBER, the Center for Experimental Social Sciences at NYU, IGIER at Bocconi University, CIREQ at the University of Montreal, IZA at the University of Bonn. He is also a… read more »

Shimon Edelman

Professor of Psychology, Cornell University

Shimon Edelman BSEE MSc PhD holds degrees in electrical engineering and in computer science and is interested in all aspects of mind, brain, and behavior. He has taught in Israel, England, and South Korea and is presently Professor of Psychology at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, where he works on behavioral, neural, evolutionary, and computational… read more »

Benjamin Radcliff

Professor of Political Science, the University of Notre Dame

Benjamin Radcliff is Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. His current research focuses on the means by which human happiness is politically produced and distributed. His scholarly articles on the subject have appeared in many journals, including the American Political Science Review, the Journal of Politics, Perspectives on Politics, and Social… read more »

Wendy Suzuki

Professor of Neural Science and Psychology, New York University

Wendy Suzuki, Ph.D. is a Professor of Neural Science and psychology at New York University. She received her undergraduate degree from U.C. Berkeley and her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from U.C. San Diego. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health before starting her faculty position in the Center for Neural Science at… read more »

Christine Vitrano

Associate Professor of Philosophy, Brooklyn College, CUNY

Christine Vitrano is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. She is the author of The Nature and Value of Happiness. She is coauthor, with Steven M. Cahn, of Happiness and Goodness: Philosophical Reflections on Living Well and they also coedited Happiness: Classic and Contemporary Readings in Philosophy.

One comment on “Happiness

  1. The discussion of happiness conflated two different entities: happiness and well-being. Happiness is an affect. Well-being is a mood.
    Happiness affect with well-being mood means a pleasurable relationship and a meaningful life. Happiness affect with depressed mood means a pleasurable relationship and a meaningless life. No happiness affect with well-being mood means a pleasure-less relationship and meaningful life. No happiness affect with depressed mood means a pleasure-less relationship and meaningless life (clinical depression). No happiness affect with flat mood (incorrectly called flat affect) means pleasure-less relationship and
    anhedonic meaningless life (clinical schizophrenia).

    Please share this with the discussants. I hope it will be helpful.

    I am a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst.

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