Syllabus for Psychology and Philosophy of Happiness

The Psychology and Philosophy of Happiness

Course Description

Stimulated by the ground-breaking work of Positive Psychologists such as Martin Seligman, both popular media and academia have seen an upsurge of interest in the new “Science of  Happiness.”

What exactly is “happiness”? Can we measure happiness or peace of mind? What do the latest scientific data tell us about the causes of happiness? How can we use the science of happiness to become happier and fight depression?  We will explore these questions and more while examining the work of philosophers and psychologists from both East and West who have pioneered the exploration of happiness. In doing so, we will examine the remarkable points of  resonance between the insights of the great philosophers, and the more empirically based discoveries of modern psychology.

Course Outcomes
  1. Participants will become familiar with leading psychological theories of happiness (including Subjective Well-Being and Psychological Well-Being).
  2. Participants will be able to identify points of resonance between well-known philosophical views of happiness and recent scientific discoveries on happiness.
  3. Participants will grasp the practical implications of the science of happiness for human relationships, lifestyles and thinking habits.
Course Work

Course work will include participation in two live webinars, online discussions, brief “reaction” papers on assigned readings, and a course project chosen by participants based on discussions with the teaching staff.

Required texts
  • Csikszentmihalyi,Mihalyi (1997) Finding Flow. Basic Books: New York.
  • Seligman, Martin (2002). Authentic Happiness. Free Press: New York.
  • Hoff, Benjamin (1982), The Tao of Pooh. Dutton/Penguin: New York.