Third Global Conference on Happiness

Country: Ireland

City: Waterford

Abstr. due: 14.04.2017

Dates: 12.06.17 — 14.06.17

Area Of Sciences: Philosophy; Humanities;

Organizing comittee e-mail:

Organizers: Department of Political Science, Trinity College Dublin


‘Happiness is the best, noblest, and most pleasant thing in the world’, according to Aristotle. We all want to be happy. The right to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ are held to be inalienable rights in the American Declaration of Independence, Bhutan first measured ‘Gross National Happiness’, and the United Nations regularly commissions independent World Happiness Reports. But what exactly is happiness? Different answers come from psychological, philosophical, cultural, artistic, sociological, political, economic, scientific and theological perspectives.

Is happiness merely a subjective feeling of wellbeing that can be brought about by pleasurable experiences, or is there rather more to it than that? Is it to be found in drugs (prescription and illegal), alcohol, gambling, in sex, or in spiritual methods such as meditation? What light can biomedical research shed on the concept of happiness? Does it correspond to living the Good Life, as the ancient philosophers believed; or is true happiness only possible in the afterlife, as some religious traditions maintain? How is deferred gratification more problematic in our hectic postmodern age? What sorts of things can make us happy in our everyday life? Do possessions and status guarantee happiness? Ought we to aim for happiness directly, or will it come about naturally as a side effect of doing meaningful activities? What roles, if any, do entertainment, travel, sport, the arts, education, material success, hobbies, crafts and family have? In what ways are happiness and health – both physical and mental – related? How do literary and mass media depictions of happiness inform our view about what it is and how best to achieve it? What significance has the idea of happiness to business, politics and the law? How can happiness best be promoted, and unhappiness minimized? Are we entitled to demand uninterrupted happiness? What is our responsibility towards those who are not happy? How can we personally add to the amount of happiness in the world? The Happiness interdisciplinary research and publishing stream seeks answers to these questions and more.

Because happiness (and the lack of it) is centrally important to the human condition, it is of great interest to many disciplines and practices. The topic also provides a fertile ground for the intersection of theory and praxis. We want to provide access opportunities so that widest range of people with something to say about happiness can join in this conversation.

These might include: psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, counsellors, medical professionals, addiction workers, pharmacologists, neuroscientists, philosophers, theologians, educationalists, parents, teachers, clergy, NGOs, social/welfare services, charities, politicians, political scientists, civil servants, cultural theorists, entertainers, performers, creative artists, writers, sportspersons, hospitality industry professionals, PR and advertising professionals, retailers, economists, journalists, market researchers, business people, restaurateurs, and anyone else who has a contribution to make in understanding happiness.

As we explore the manifold aspects of the concept of happiness, we encourage participants to think outside the limits of their own discipline, and to explore the implications for practice of the theories and perspectives that they espouse. In better understanding happiness, we can become both personally happier, and have a role in raising the happiness levels of the communities of which we are a part. As the Dalai Lama said, ‘If you want others to be happy, practise compassion, if you want to be happy, practise compassion’.

We welcome traditional papers, panels and workshop proposals, as well as other forms of presentation platforms (art, poetry, posters, video submissions, and so on), given the interdisciplinary nature of the conference, and recognising that different groups express themselves in various formats and mediums.

We would like participants – both from within and from outside academica – to explore the concept of happiness in ways that include, but are not limited to:

Conference Web-Site: