Phil Zoom: Philosophy of Happiness


Course Details

  • Course Code: ENRICH-0865_HAPP
  • Location: University Park
  • Mode of Study: Online
  • Places Left: 18
  • Waitlist Places Left: 5
  • Fee: $145
Philosophy of Happiness
Four Zoom Sessions
Tue., Apr. 16, 23, 30, May 7, 2024, 6:30-8:30 pm MT

The ancient Greeks often debated what makes us happy, and whether or not happiness should be the primary pursuit of a person’s life. Despite the fact that more recent philosophy explores negative emotions, happiness has remained a perennial concern in the philosophical tradition. In this course, instructor R.D. Perry traces how different philosophers think about happiness and how desirable it is, mostly as an ethical consideration but also as an aspect of social and political philosophy. The class begins with Aristotle, who summarizes the various ancient Greek positions as he provides his own definition of happiness as a life well lived. Then consider Boethius as a representative of the ascetic tradition that flourished in Christian, Jewish, Islamic and Buddhist thought, among others. For Boethius happiness is only achieved by leaving behind one’s cares about this world and meditating instead on something higher, like the divine or philosophy itself. In modernity, Immanuel Kant examines the relationship between happiness and other aspects of an ethical life, most importantly fulfilling the duties we have to one another. Finally, explore Hannah Arendt’s reflections on something that she finds so quintessentially American that it’s inscribed in our Declaration of Independence: the assumption that one’s life is shaped by the pursuit of happiness.

R.D. Perry is an assistant professor of English and Literary Arts at the University of Denver. He specializes in medieval and early modern literature, as well as the history of philosophy and critical theory.


Enrichment Program
University College
University of Denver
2211 S. Josephine St.
Denver, CO 80210
Phone: 303-871-2291

Program contacts:
Lynn Wells, Director

Charles Stillwagon, Program Manager

Phone: 303-871-2291


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Days of the Week Start Date End Date Time Venue Instructor
Tuesday 16 April 2024 07 May 2024 06:30PM - 08:30PM All Students Ryan Perry