Transpersonal Gratitude

Expressions of personal gratitude come in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes an expression of personal gratitude has a specific benefactor as its addressee (as in triadic gratitude). But more often than not, as is the case with any genuine virtue, personal gratitude outstrips the stuff of thank you notes and warm feelings toward benefactors. For example, I may help a child learn to read or to swim in part as an expression of my gratitude to the adult who taught me to do these things. And some material expressions of personal gratitude benefit many other people by helping to support institutions that were crucial to the beneficiaries. A grateful patient in a position to do so might donate buildings or equipment to the hospital where her or his health was restored. Alumni may make donations to their schools, colleges, or universities. In all of these cases, personal gratitude exceeds the strict limits of triadic gratitude because the expression of personal gratitude is more than a kind of thank you note to an individual benefactor.

Gratitude 2

When I express triadic gratitude, or personal gratitude more generally, I know the people or institutions that helped me on my way, I know the kind of help they gave me, and I have a clear idea of the kind of good I give back in expressing gratitude. I strongly suspect that truly grateful people have a strength of character that exceeds these limits in various dimensions. For example, the struggles of people who died long ago, whose names I do not know, and who never knew me, made possible the horizon of possibility and and the particular opportunities that characterize much of the good available to me. It is safe to assume that those people were in no position to imagine the kind of goods I take for granted. That it is easy for someone like me to take for granted things that most people, even now, cannot take for granted betrays a kind of lack of gratitude for the indefinitely many strangers whose lives and deaths produced or prop up the world I trust and enjoy. If I am alive to this aspect of my world, I may be in a position to experience and express transpersonal gratitude.


In transpersonal gratitude, I seek to carry the good I enjoy forward in a way that will benefit people I will never meet in ways that go beyond what I can imagine. Knowing the centrality of education to the life that I have made, I seek to support educational institutions and policies that will benefit young people long after I am gone by opening possibilities for them that I cannot foresee. Knowing the joy, peace and pleasure I have had by having opportunities to spend time in nature, I support efforts to produce and nurture green spaces in my city, where people I may never meet may benefit in more ways than I know by being able to take a walk under the trees.


Transpersonal gratitude is not opposed to personal gratitude, and neither of these is at odds with triadic gratitude. Actually, if gratitude is the name for a virtue distinct from justice or piety, it is likely a strength of character that opens grateful people to all of these kinds of reasons to be thankful, and all of these ways to think about working to express that thankfulness.


Part I: Candace Vogler on Triatic Gratitude, November 23, 2015.

Part II: Candace Vogler on Personal Gratitude, November 25, 2015.

Candace Vogler is the David B. and Clara E. Stern Professor of Philosophy and Professor in the College at the University of Chicago, and Director and Principal Investigator for Virtue, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life.


Personal Gratitude


When individuals care about, look after, support, aid, and more generally seek good for others, and the recipients of this largess not only understand what they receive and feel, but express gratitude for it in many ways, we are in the sphere of personal gratitude.

Gratitude 3

Triadic gratitude is a kind of personal gratitude—a kind that is especially attentive to the exact character of the benefit received, and a duly measured response to just that benefit. But personal gratitude is often less a matter of giving each her due than a matter of appreciating the depth of our dependency on the others who help to make our lives possible. In personal gratitude, I am struck by how much of what others do for me goes well beyond anything I am owed or might routinely expect from my fellows, and I seek to show this. It is a virtue that operates in concert with appropriate humility—with having both appropriate self-regard and a sound understanding of what my fellows do for me. I am grateful to my father for teaching me to read when I was very young. I am grateful to my friends for helping me to laugh at my own foibles, and for comforting me in times of struggle and loss. I am grateful to my teachers for the encouragement they gave me, to those who believed in me when I could not entirely believe in myself, and to the many people who, as one says, went above and beyond for my sake.


Personal gratitude is balanced. Grateful people neither see themselves as fit objects of derision and neglect (who ought to be endlessly grateful any time another person shows them any kindness) nor as glorious beings owed everything the world has provided (and likely more besides).

Part I: Candace Vogler on Triatic Gratitude, November 23, 2015.

Part III: Candace Vogler on Transpersonal Gratitude, November 25, 2015.

Candace Vogler is the David B. and Clara E. Stern Professor of Philosophy and Professor in the College at the University of Chicago, and Director and Principal Investigator for Virtue, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life.

Triadic Gratitude

Sometimes we talk about being grateful for good weather or good fortune. Good luck and the rain needed for crops, gardens, or the local water supply could be things for which we should be grateful if we are among those who think that helpful weather and healthy babies are gifts. An expression of gratitude in such a case is like a prayer; such gratitude can belong to the virtues we cultivate through acts of piety. Outside some such context, talking about being grateful for an unexpected warm spell in January is more an expression of gladness than an expression of gratitude.


Mundane gratitude comes into play when someone does me a good turn, helps me, gives me something that I need or want, or, at least, tries to give me something that I might like or might put to good use. One version of mundane gratitude—triadic gratitude—has been the subject of considerable study in social science and education policy consultants in recent years. In this variety of gratitude, the scene of gratitude has three parts—a benefactor, a benefit, and a beneficiary. Normally, in triadic gratitude, the benefactor knows who the beneficiary is (even if they are not close), the beneficiary knows the identity of the benefactor, and both know the character of the benefit at issue. Some researchers interested in triadic gratitude focus on trying to gauge how thankful I am or should be to a benefactor, suggesting that it will involve, among other things, how welcome the benefit is, how timely the benefit was (from my point of view), and how much it cost the benefactor to supply me with the benefit (in terms of the benefactor’s time, effort, concern, or or other resources).

Gratitude 1-2

Although some researchers working on triadic gratitude sometimes treat this form of gratitude as a distinctive virtue, it may be no more than the attitudinal aspect of my giving others their due, in light of what they do for me. As such, traditionally, it will be an aspect of individual justice—the cultivated strength that governs such matters as paying debts, doing my part in joint ventures, and keeping my promises (even though, if I have any imagination at all, there will be things I’d rather do than pay debts, keep promises, do my share, or stop long enough to notice and mark specific things that particular people do to help me on my way). Where this kind of gratitude is concerned, a complaint that someone is ungrateful normally points to the fact that the person in question knowingly and clearly takes advantage of significant benefits that came her or his way through the generosity of specific benefactors, and, without so much as pausing to express thanks to the benefactors, behaves as though she or he was somehow entitled to the benefits in question, when nothing about the benefactor-beneficiary relationship suggests that the one owed the other any special consideration. Being in this sense ungrateful is a sign of flawed character, but triadic gratitude is not the whole of gratitude and may not track a special virtue in its own right.


To move closer to the variety of gratitude that may be a virtue distinct from piety or justice, broadly construed, think, for a moment, about thank you notes, and the old-fashioned custom of teaching children to write them. Thank you notes may belong to plain etiquette—little ethics, small ethics, petite ethics, the ethics of polite society. As such, they might find their home in the sphere of ordinary good manners or courtesy, a more elaborate version of the more usual business of saying ‘Please,’ when asking for something, and ‘Thank you,’ when getting the very thing for which you asked (the most basic expression of triadic gratitude one might find). But any adult who insisted that a child work out exactly how welcome, timely, and costly a benefit was in order to determine what kind of thank you note to write to the benefactor would be doing a very bad job of teaching the child to write thank you notes. If learning to write thank you notes belongs to cultivating a distinctive strength of character called gratitude, then it is a strength of character more alert to the fact that someone else did me a good turn (or tried to do so) than it is to how valuable I found the result of my benefactor’s efforts. Cultivating gratitude in this sense centers on learning to notice what specific people do or try to do for me, valuing this aspect of what the world brings my way through the good will of specific people in my world, and valuing those very people because they are working to help me along or prop me up or make my world better. Call this personal gratitude.

Part II: Candace Vogler on Personal Gratitude, November 24, 2015.

Part III: Candace Vogler on Transpersonal Gratitude, November 25, 2015.

Candace Vogler is the David B. and Clara E. Stern Professor of Philosophy and Professor in the College at the University of Chicago, and Director and Principal Investigator for Virtue, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life.


June 2016 Summer Seminar: “Virtue and Happiness”

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We will host a summer seminar at Moreau Seminary at the University of Notre Dame geared to early career researchers and advanced doctoral students in Philosophy, Psychology, and Theology/Religious Studies.

June 12-17, 2016 – Topic: “Virtue and Happiness”

Location: Moreau Seminary, Notre Dame

The Seminar is intended for outstanding advanced-level graduate students and early career researchers in the areas of Philosophy, Psychology, and Theology/Religious Studies. Our aim is to involve participants in our innovative and collaborative research framework within these three fields, and to provide an engaged environment to deepen and enliven their own research.

We will accept up to 25 students. The seminar is highly intensive, meeting twice a day for one week on the topics below and continue conversations informally over meals.

This seminar is supported by  a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation and our institutional partner the Jacques Maritain Center, and includes lodging, meals, tuition and travel reimbursement up to $500. Accepted participants will be asked to pay a $200 registration fee.

Topics and faculty leaders:

1. The Four Sprouts of Virtue in Mengzi and 2. Destructive Emotions?

Owen Flanagan is James B. Duke University Professor of Philosophy at Duke University.  He works in philosophy of mind, ethics, and comparative philosophy.  His book, The Geography of Morals: Varieties of Moral Possibilitywill be published by Oxford University Press next year.

Action, Practical Reason, and Happiness

Jennifer A. Frey is an assistant professor in the philosophy department at the University of South Carolina and principal investigator with Virtue, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life.  Her research lies at the intersection of philosophy of action and ethics, with a particular focus on the Aristotelian-Thomist tradition.

Neurobiology and moral development and 2. Ecological virtue and organic morality

Darcia Narvaez is Professor of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame. She publishes extensively on moral development and education. Her most recent book is Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality: Evolution, Culture and Wisdom (2014, Norton). She is executive editor of the Journal of Moral Education. She also writes a popular blog for Psychology Today (“Moral Landscapes”).

1. “Virtue Transformed: A Christian Account of Human Excellence” and 2. “On Love and Happiness: An Introduction to a Renewed Understanding of Christian Charity and Heavenly Beatitude”

Michael S. Sherwin, O.P., is Professor of Fundamental Moral Theology at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.  Fr. Sherwin is director of the Saint Thomas Aquinas Institute for Theology and Culture and of the Pinckaers Archives.  Author of articles on the psychology of love, virtue ethics and moral development, his monograph, By Knowledge and By Love: Charity and Knowledge in the Moral Theology of St. Thomas Aquinas (CUA Press, 2005) has newly been reissued in paperback.

Self-Transcendence and Virtue

Candace Vogler is the David B. and Clara E. Stern Professor of Philosophy and Professor in the College at the University of Chicago, and a principal investigator with Virtue, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life. She has authored two books, John Stuart Mill’s Deliberative Landscape: An essay in moral psychology (Routledge, 2001) and Reasonably Vicious (Harvard University Press, 2002), and essays in ethics, social and political philosophy, philosophy and literature, cinema, psychoanalysis, gender studies, sexuality studies, and other areas.

The role of self-transcendence in virtue and happiness

Paul T.P. Wong is Professor Emeritus, Trent University, Adjunct Professor, Saybrook University, and a Fellow of APA and CPA. He is President of the International Network on Personal Meaning (INPM) and the Meaning-Centered Counselling Institute. In addition to being the editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Existential Psychology and Psychotherapy, he has edited two influential volumes on The Human Quest for Meaning (Routledge). A prolific writer, he is one of the most cited existential and positive psychologists. Since 2000, he has organized eight well-known and well attended Biannual International Meaning Conferences. He is the originator of Meaning Therapy, and he has been invited to give keynote addresses and meaning therapy workshops worldwide. He is the recent recipient of Carl Rogers Award from Div.32 (Humanistic Psychology) of APA.

For further information or to apply, visit

“Virtue and Happiness” poster and call for applications.

The Meaning Hypothesis of Living a Good Life: Virtue, Happiness and Meaning

Figure 1. The meaning axis versus the success axis.

The ideal life is characterized by the successful pursuit of one’s ideals and mission. However, even in situations where one is unable to realize one’s vision—because of sickness or external circumstances—one may still feel that one has lived a worthy life because of one’s personal sacrifice for a worthy cause. All the great humanitarians, such as Albert Schweitzer, Maya Angelou, Oskar Schindler and Mahatma Gandhi, devoted their lives to a noble mission. In contrast, those who pursue money, power and wealth can achieve only a shallow life at best; when they fail in their egotistic goals, they are more likely to become bitter, angry and depressed than those who failed in pursuing a meaningful life (Christensen, 2012; Huffington, 2013; Lyubomirsky, 2013).

The practical implications for this meaning fulfillment dimension are both significant and wide-ranging. It is possible for individuals and society to be transformed; meaningless strife may be turned into harmony, compassion and well-being.

I have developed a Life Orientation Scale (LOS) to measure the meaning mindset. A high LOS score reflects a positive and self-transcendental mindset with strong emphasis on moral excellence and altruism. We can also predict that people who score high in LOS will be more likely to devote themselves to humanitarian relief work, social reform advocacy, or religious vocations. Such individuals are more likely to show more altruism, more eudaimonia—or happiness—and more spirituality. I believe that a meaning-mindset is exactly what we need to create a culture that values social responsibility, civic virtues, and service to humanity. Ultimately, educating people with a meaning-mindset will result in a kinder and more harmonious society and more sustainable development.

Self-Transcendence and Virtue

Virtue is an indispensable dimension of the good life for individuals and society because virtue is not only good in its own right, but also benefits others. Viktor Frankl (1985) emphasizes the need for a radical shift from self-focus to meaning-focus as the most promising way to lift up individuals from the dark pit of despair to a higher ground of flourishing. Frankl’s (1985) concept of ethical responsibility is the foundation for acting well morally and imbuing life with meaning.

While subjective well-being is up to each individual to decide, virtue requires a relational and objective criterion, as proposed by Aristotle. Whether a certain behavior or certain individual is deemed virtuous is always based on some kind of social norm regarding one’s impact on other people and society. That is why virtue exists primarily in the social realm.

Acting badly would not make anyone’s life worthy of living and admiration, even when one is hugely successful as a drug dealer or gangster. Aristotle’s theory of virtue ethics stands in sharp contrast to the value-neutral stance of positive psychology (Seligman, 2002). Haybron (2013) says very well: “One should not be an asshole in the pursuit of happiness” (p. 97). It is worth noting that like Aristotle, Viktor Frankl (1985) also emphasizes the need for objective values as the basis for the subjective experience of meaningfulness.

The Central Importance of Self-Transcendence

Only when we redirect our focus from self-interest to something bigger than and beyond ourselves can we experience meaning in life. Frankl is unique in pinpointing self-transcendence as the hallmark of the spiritual nature and as the end state of becoming fully human: “Only when we lift ourselves in to the dimension of spirit do we become fully human” (Fabry, 1994, p. 19). Thus, Frankl elevates commitment to the spiritual act of serving a higher purpose for the greater good.

Horizontally, self-transcendence transcends ego-concerns and self-interest to serve others. It is intrinsically compassionate and altruistic, given its spiritual nature. In self- transcendence, other people matter in their own right because of their intrinsic value. Loving our neighbours is its own reward. Showing kindness to strangers is its own reward. We engage in deeds of compassion and kindness because we are simply expressing our spiritual nature. This is fundamentally different from using other people as instruments for our own advancement and happiness.

The Role of Meaning in Well-Being

Well-being is based on several dimensions: self-acceptance, personal growth, purpose in life, environmental mastery, autonomy, and positive relationships with others. These dimensions cover much of the same domain as sources of meaning (Wong, 1998). I propose that meaning serves at least three important functions in maintaining positive mental health:

(1) Sources of Meaning as Contributors to Well-Being

The Personal Meaning Profile (Wong, 1998) is related to both presence of well-being and absence of mental illness. Mascaro (2006) found that PMP (Wong, 1998) was negatively related to depressive symptoms, depression and hopelessness, and positively related to meaning fulfillment, hope, and internal locus of control. Although all these studies are correlational, there are some perspectives and longitudinal studies that show that meaning can predict future well- being (Mascaro, 2014; Mascaro & Rosen, 2008).

(2) Meaning as a Protective/Preventive Factor

However, when people are going through very difficult times, meaning, rather than positive emotions, becomes more important in maintaining some level of well-being (Frankl, 1985; Wong, 2010; Wong, 2011). According to the meaning-centered approach to well-being, the ABCDE strategy serves the function of transforming negatives into positives, as well as making suffering more bearable. The ABCDE acronym stands for acceptance, belief, commitment, discovery, and evaluation/enjoyment. I have given a detailed account on how these components contribute to resilience and well-being in adverse situations (Wong, 2010; Wong & Wong, 2012).

(3) Meaning as the Basis for Hope in Extreme Situations

The important role of hope in maintaining one’s well-being and health has been well documented (Snyder, 2000). Hope provides the motivation to strive and improve one’s life. However, in extreme situations such as the Holocaust or dying from incurable cancer, one needs a different kind of hope that is not based on confidence in one’s own competence or positive expectations of a good outcome. Viktor Frankl (1985) developed the concept of tragic optimism, which enabled him to survive the Nazi death camps. I have identified the key components of tragic optimism as consisting of acceptance, affirmation, faith in God, self-transcendence, and courage. Only meaning-oriented hope can survive unimaginable horrors and sufferings.

In another post I will discuss my three-factor model of my meaning-centered approach to a good life, drawing more connections between Well-being, Virtue, and Meaning.


Christensen, C. M. (2012). How will you measure your life? New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.

Fabry, J. B. (1994). The pursuit of meaning (New revised edition). Abilene, TX: Institute of Logotherapy Press.

Frankl, V. E. (1985). Man’s search for meaning (Revised and updated). New York, NY: Washington Square Press.

Haybron, D. M. (2013). Happiness: A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Huffington, A. (2013, May 29). Beyond money and power (and stress and burnout): In search of a new definition of success [Web log post]. Retrieved from success_b_3354525.html

Lyubomirsky, S. (2013). The myths of happiness: What should make you happy, but doesn’t, what shouldn’t make you happy, but does. New York, NY: The Penguin Press.

Mascaro, N. (2006). Longitudinal analysis of the relationship of existential meaning with depression and hope. Doctoral Dissertation, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas.

Mascaro, N. (2014). Meaning sensitive psychotherapy: Binding clinical, existential, and positive psychological perspectives. In A. Batthyany and P. Russo-Netzer (Eds.), Meaning in Positive and Existential Psychology (pp. 269-289). New York, NY: Springer.

Mascaro, N., & Rosen, D. H. (2008). Assessment of existential meaning and its longitudinal relations with depressive symptoms. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 27(6), 576-599.

Metz, T. (2013). Meaning in life. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. (2004). Character strengths and virtues. New York, NY: Oxford

University Press.
Ryan, R. M., & Huta, V. (2009). Wellness as health functioning or wellness as happiness: The

importance of eudaimonic thinking. Journal of Positive Psychology, 4, 202-204. Ryff, C. D., & Keyes, C. L. M. (1995). The structure of psychological well-being revisited.

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 719-727.
Seligman, M. E. P. (2002). Authentic happiness: Using the new positive psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfillment. New York, NY: Free Press.

Snyder, C. R. (Ed.). (2000). Handbook of hope: Theory, measures, and applications. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Snyder, C. R., & Lopez, S. J. (2007). Positive psychology: The scientific and practical explorations of human strengths. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Templeton, J. (1998). The humble approach. West Conshohocken, PA: Templeton Press.

Waterman, A. S. (1993). Two conceptions of happiness: Contrasts of personal expressiveness (eudaimonia) and hedonic enjoyment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64, 678-691.

Wong, P. T. P. (1991). Existential vs. causal attributions. In S. Zelen (Ed.), New models, new extensions of attribution theory (pp. 84-125). New York, NY: Springer-Verlag Publishers.

Wong, P. T. P. (1998). Implicit theories of meaningful life and the development of the Personal Meaning Profile (PMP). In P. T. P. Wong & P. Fry (Eds.), The human quest for meaning: A handbook of psychological research and clinical applications (pp. 111-140). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., Publishers.

Wong, P. T. P. (2010). Meaning therapy: An integrative and positive existential psychotherapy. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 40(2), 85-93.

Wong, P. T. P. (2011). Positive psychology 2.0: Towards a balanced interactive model of the good life. Canadian Psychology, 52(2), 69–81.

Wong, P. T. P. (in press, a). Meaning-seeking, self-transcendence, and well-being. Annual Review of Logotherapy and Existential Analysis.

Wong, P. T. P., & Weiner, B. (1981). When people ask “Why” questions and the heuristic of attributional search. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 40, 650-663.

Wong, P. T. P., & Wong, L. C. J. (2012). A meaning-centered approach to building youth resilience. In P. T. P. Wong (Ed.), The human quest for meaning: Theories, research, and applications (2nd ed., pp. 585-617). New York, NY: Routledge.

Wong, P. T. P. (in press, b). A decade of meaning: Past, present and future. Journal of Constructivist Psychology.

Paul Wong is Professor Emeritus, Trent University, Adjunct Professor, Saybrook University and a scholar with the Virtue, Happiness, and Meaning of Life project.

On the speculative and normative in theology

photo by Robert Kozloff

I am a theologian. Theo-logy, “logos”—speech, reflection, thought about and eventually knowledge of “theos,” God as first principle—is the goal or end of the science (science here used in the traditional sense of methodological inquiry) called first philosophy or metaphysics. It is called “natural theology.” But theology can also be the starting point of another science, one that works on the supposition not only that God exists but that God has spoken. The fundamental supposition of revealed (in contrast to natural) theology is that this direct divine communication culminates in the divine self-revelation of the Incarnate Logos, Jesus Christ. This divine communication is mediated by way of inspired canonical Scriptures, the apostolic tradition, and is explicated in normative teaching (dogmas and doctrines). This is why revealed theology is at its center essentially sacred teaching. Everything that is revealed and everything that can be inferred from this revelation belongs to the scope of this science, whose interior unity is that of a single academic discipline with interpretive, historical, and normative aspects. Metaphysics, philology, and history play important instrumental roles for theology. The goal of revealed theology or sacred teaching is to ever deepen our understanding of the truth conveyed in revelation, to display its coherence with the truths attained in other sciences, to dialogue with other religious and philosophical traditions, and to meet their objections. One of the most profound and influential practitioners of theology as sacred teaching (metaphysics being its privileged instrument) was Thomas Aquinas.

My own work belongs to the speculative and normative aspects of theology. This aspect is in contemporary parlance most often called systematic theology and encompasses dogmatic, moral, and also philosophical theology. I take my orientation and inspiration from Thomas Aquinas, and one of the interventions I want to make in my field is to reintroduce Thomas Aquinas’s vision of theology as sacred teaching into the contemporary discourse of systematic theology, which will demonstrate that he has constructive solutions for many of the dead ends we find in present theological discussions. One of the issues that drives my work is the recovery of human flourishing as a central purpose for our various academic efforts and enterprises. Rightly understood, everything is ordered to happiness or beatitude (blessedness). Aquinas has written a profound treatise on happiness/beatitude in which he draws upon the tradition of classical philosophy, especially Aristotle and neo-Platonism, and upon the tradition of the church fathers, especially Augustine. It is an integral account of human flourishing that stands up to modern philosophical alternatives and that actually advances powerful anticipatory critiques of such alternatives.

For Aquinas, attaining genuine and everlasting happiness in communion with God requires the virtue of religion. Everlasting happiness in communion with God is the final end divine providence has ordained for humanity. Aquinas sees the ultimate end of perfect and everlasting participation in the divine life—the beatific vision—as unattainable without the sojourner living the virtue of religion. This vital virtue signifies the stable disposition, formed by charity, which submits its will to God in the interior act of devotion, directs its mind completely to God in the interior act of prayer, and renders due honor and reverence to God in exterior acts of adoration, sacrifice, oblation, tithes, and vows.

Aquinas advances an account of the virtue of religion as happiness that is especially relevant for a secular world that believes religion is irrelevant. In combination with his theory of soul/body unity, and his theory of the emotions, dispositions, and virtues as working together for the greater good, Aquinas’s analysis of human flourishing and happiness could be profoundly useful to contemporary disciplines in search of interdisciplinary focus, offering a unifying theory that can encompass the humanities and natural sciences in one arch. It is an approach that begs for dialogue with contemporary philosophy, psychology, the bio-sciences, and related fields.

Reinhard Hütter is Professor of Christian Theology at Duke University Divinity School where he teaches dogmatic, philosophical, and moral theology ad mentem S. Thomae. He is presently the Paluch Chair in Theology at the University of Saint Mary on the Lake/Mundelein Seminary of the Archdiocese of Chicago (2015-16). He is a scholar with Virtue, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life.

Professor Huetter will be at the Lumen Christi Institute in Chicago to give a lecture and teach a master class this week. For more information, follow the links below.

Thursday, November 19, 4:30 5:30pm
Friday, November 20, 2 3pm

Save the Date! Live streaming John Haldane’s lecture “Virtue, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life” 12-14-15

live-stream-Haldane-Dec-14-John Haldane will discuss the growing consensus in the field of positive psychology that virtues are the cornerstone of a happy life, including how the sciences of human behavior are related to philosophical investigations of value and conduct, and how ethical evaluation of action has to do with the issues of existential meaning and happiness.

This lecture will live stream from the University of South Carolina at 6pm cst, 7pm est.

John Haldane is professor of philosophy and director of the Centre for Ethics, Philosophy and Public Affairs at the University of St Andrews, and the J. Newton Rayzor, Sr., Distinguished Professor in Philosophy at Baylor University. He is a scholar with the “Virtue, Happiness, and Meaning of Life” project.

Haldane’s research interests include issues in the history of philosophy; philosophy of mind; social and political philosophy, ethics, and aesthetics. Prof. Haldane obtained a bachelor of arts in philosophy in 1980 and a Ph.D. in 1984. He has held fellowships from the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, and Pittsburgh. A proponent of analytical approaches to the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, Prof. Haldane has authored or edited dozens of articles and books, including “An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Religion”, “Faithful Reason: Essays Catholic and Philosophical”, “Reasonable Faith”, and “Atheism and Theism”. He has also appeared on several BBC radio and television programs and contributed to the Times, the Daily Telegraph, The Scotsman, and several other outlets.

For more information, visit