In recent years, psychologists, neuroscientists, economists, and other scientists have turned their attention to traditional philosophical themes of happiness, virtue, and the meaning of life. Perhaps not coincidentally, philosophers’ interest in these themes appears to have been rekindled.

This workshop aims to close the gap between empirical and philosophical approaches to questions of happiness, virtue, and the meaning of life, in the interest of encouraging the development of an empirically informed philosophy and a science with philosophical awareness.

Goals include to explore the degree to which the conclusions of philosophical reflection and systematic empirical study of issues of happiness, virtue, and the meaning of life are converging (or not); what in general contemporary scientists can learn from philosophy, its history and methodology, and what contemporary philosophers stand to gain from engaging with the empirical literature; what in particular recent work has revealed about the nature of happiness (e.g., if it includes an account of the meaning of life) and virtue (e.g., whether it can be understood as a self-transcendent practical orientation); what the power and limitations of empirical methods are in addressing philosophical questions; and whether there remains a space for armchair philosophizing in addressing the topics.

Philosophers, historians, psychologists, economists, and others interested in participating are invited to submit complete papers electronically or in hard copy to the organizer (see contact information below) on or before January 5, 2017. Papers that adopt interdisciplinary approaches and that touch upon more than one of the three themes are particularly welcome. Submissions should be suitable for a 20–25-minute presentation.

The workshop will be held in Aula Magna on the Frescati (main) campus of Stockholm University, which is easily reachable via metro and bus from the city center: The location is wheelchair accessible.

The workshop is sponsored by the Department of Philosophy at Stockholm University in collaboration with the John Templeton Foundation grant “Virtue, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life”.

Key dates

Deadline for submission: January 5, 2017

Notification of accepted papers: January 15, 2017

Workshop: May 5, 2017

Keynote speakers

  • Jennifer Frey (University of South Carolina)
  • Candace Vogler (University of Chicago)

Contact information

Erik Angner
Dept. of Philosophy
Stockholm University
114 25 Stockholm, Sweden