Happiness: Enlightenment to Present
The question of what makes us happy, let alone how to actually define happiness, has preoccupied writers and philosophers since the Ancient Greeks. Happiness generates many cognates – joy, pleasure, contentment, delight, ease – yet it remains distinct, however hard to define. It can be private or shared, pursuit or achievement; it is both means and end.
Happiness intervenes in debates about pleasure, morality, god, society, human nature, and it informs the reception of literature through ideas about, for example, the reparative value of reading.
This two-day conference aims to bring together researchers exploring any aspect of happiness from the Enlightenment to the present, incorporating papers which showcase the word’s full range and complexity across two centuries of lived and written experience. It will be held at King’s College, Cambridge between Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th October, 2019. Keynote speakers will be Dr Kirsty Martin (Exeter University) and Professor Adam Potkay (College of William & Mary, Virginia).
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Tickets for the two-day conference are £40 for PhD students, early career researchers and the unwaged, or £60 for waged attendees. Attendance is free for students at the University of Cambridge and for Fellows of King's, but please register in advance so that we can plan accordingly.
On the evening of Saturday 19th there will also be a public event which sees the psychoanalyst and essayist Adam Phillips 'in conversation' with Professor Matthew Bevis (Oxford University). This event is free to attend but will be ticketed; if you would like to register for this event only please follow the correct link below.