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Southern Oregon University


Exploring Happiness

Happiness and the Arts

Members of the Departments of Music, Theatre and Art will examine how the arts have defined and described "happiness."  The ensuing discussion will focus on comparisons of these artistic depictions and examine the various interpretations they suggest.

Presenters: Eric Levin (Theatre Arts), Melissa Geppert (Art and Art History), Cynthia Hutton (Music); Moderator, Fredna Grimland (Music)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 * 7pm Meese Room of the Library

Happiness, Whose Vision, Which Version?

Historically believers and theologians of various religious traditions have argued that ultimate human joy and happiness in life consists in understanding and appreciating human life as divinely created and inspired. But is this necessary true? This panel will explore the question whether human happiness necessarily requires a divine grounding from three perspectives: Christian, Hindu, and non-religious perspectives. McAllister will argue that Christianity seeks to unfold a relational, moral and aesthetic vision that supports an embodied practice with a desire for healthy community, justice, and joy at its core. Chenjeri will present a Hindu view according to which true ananda (bliss) can only be realized when there is a secession of illusory individuality. And, Gholson will conclude through representative, secular examples, that a belief in a supernatural power is not the only possible route toward happiness.

Presenters: Prakash Chenjeri (Southern Oregon University), Bill Gholson (Southern Oregon University), and Stuart McAllister (Ravi Zacharias International Ministries)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 * 6pm Meese Room of Library

Happiness and the Greeks

Ancient Greek philosophers thought all people insofar as they are rational should take happiness as their ultimate end. They also thought that most of us are radically mistaken about whether we are in fact happy. Why did they think these things and can these ideas be defended? Does the ancient Greek conception of happiness have anything to tell us about how to live our lives?

Presenter: Dr. Christopher Bobonich, Stanford University

Thursday, November 1, 2012 * 7 pm Meese Auditorium, SOU Art Building


Happiness and the Meaning of Life

Greek philosophers advocated taking happiness as one’s ultimate goal. A characteristically modern thought is that people should value leading meaningful lives. What’s the relation between the goals of happiness and meaningfulness? Do they go together or can they compete? What is it to lead a meaning full life and does it require more than that you think your life is meaningful?

Presenter: Dr. Christopher Bobonich, Stanford University

Friday, November 2, 2012 *4 pm Science 118, Science Building

Three Sisters: Discussion of the SOU Play

Thursday, November 8, 2012 *7 pm Meese Room Library. 

“Discontent? ‘Huh, Good God Y’all…What is it Good For?’”

Though many would question the worth of seemingly negative attitudes such as “discontent,” I argue that our ability to identify and utilize discontent as a moral emotion and attitude is central to our ability – both at the individual and community level – to promote the good, and achieve the conditions for a flourishing, happy, life. In this presentation, I engage with the intellectual and political history of “discontent” in the Western tradition, I consider its meaning as a concept, as well as its value and its place along a path towards happiness. Finally, drawing on contemporary work in virtue ethics and moral psychology, I conclude that “discontent” is not only a valuable attitude in identifying crucial opportunities for progress and improvement, but that it is further an essential element of a healthy and positive social world.

Presenter: Dr. Devora Shapiro, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Southern Oregon University

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 * 7pm Meese Room of the Hannon Library