photo: Erik Angner
photo: Erik Angner


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 two-day 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 happines, 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.

The workshop is sponsored by the Department of Philosophy at Stockholm University in collaboration with the project "Virtue, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life" which is made possible by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

Workshop poster (112 Kb)


DAY 1: Friday, 5 May

08.30Registration, coffee & sandwich

09.00Session 1 (Chair: Krister Bykvist)

Antti Kauppinen (University of Tampere) "Happiness, Virtue, and Emotion"

Jennifer Lockhart (Auburn University) "Happiness, Virtue, Self-Sacrifice and Asceticism" pdf


11.00Session 2 (Chair: Anna Alexandrova)

Jason Raibley (California State University) "Virtue and the Metaphysics of Well-being"

Joshua Lewis Thomas (University of Sheffield) "Meaning as sense-making" pdf


13.30Session 3 (Chair: Gustaf Arrhenius)

Kaisa Kärki (University of Jyväskylä) "Beyond involvement with the self"

Erik Angner (Stockholm University) "Why the science of well-being needs the philosophy of well-being — and vice versa"


15.30Keynote (Chair: Mats Ingelström)

Candace Vogler (University of Chicago)


19.45Workshop dinner (invitation only)


DAY 2: Saturday, 6 May

08.30Registration, coffee & sandwich

09.00Session 4 (Chair: Frans Svensson)

Raffaele Rodogno (Aarhus University) "On the Practical Study of Well-Being" pdf

Anna Alexandrova (Cambridge University) "Science and Individual Well-Being"


11.00Session 5 (Chair: Åsa Burman)

Willem van der Deijl (Erasmus University ) "Is pleasure all that is good about experience?" pdf

Dale Dorsey (University of Kansas) "Projects and Past Selves" pdf


13.30Session 6 (Chair: tbd)

Kirsten Egerstrom (Southern Methodist University) "The Meaning of the Afterlife" pdf

Sam Wren-Lewis (Leeds University) "Two Kinds of Happiness and Meaning:The Integrative Role of Virtue"


15.30Keynote (Chair: Erik Angner)

Jennifer Frey (University of South Carolina)




The workshop is held in the William-Olsson lecture hall, inside Geovetenskapens hus (Svante Arrhenius väg 14). This is within the main campus of Stockholm University.
Find it on Google Maps.

Geovetenskapens hus is located only 120 meter from the exit of the Universitet tube station and is fully accessible. To get to the Universitetet tube station, take the red tube line from the Central station towards "Mörby Centrum" (8 minute ride). For tickets and travel information, see:


Attendence is free, but we ask all attendees to please sign up by using the form below.

Organizers and Contact

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

Mats Ingelström