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What is happiness?
Answer at UWPlatteville faculty forum Dec. 4
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The UW–Platteville College of Liberal Arts and Education will host its third faculty forum of the fall semester in 136 Doudna Hall on Thursday, Dec. 4, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public.

Dr. Shane Drefcinski, professor of philosophy in the department of humanities at UW–Platteville, will be giving a lecture entitled “What is Happiness? The Contemporary Relevance of an Ancient Debate.” Dr. Sean Shiverick, assistant professor of psychology at UW–Platteville, will be responding.

“We might think that there is no point to debating what genuine happiness is because we think that happiness is whatever we want it to be for ourselves,” said Drefcinski.

He explained that according to Protagoras, a Greek philosopher in the fifth century, each one of us is the measure of what is true and false, which means that each one of us is correct in whatever we believe happiness is.

“Most schools of philosophy in ancient Greece thought otherwise,” said Drefcinski. “Platonists, Aristotelians, Stoics and Epicureans believed there were right and wrong answers to the question ‘What is happiness?’”

In his presentation, Drefcinski will borrow heavily from Aristotle, a Greek philosopher and scientist (385–322 B.C.) to clarify some preliminary points about happiness, including arguments that true happiness is not a matter of convention relative to each individual. He will also consider the reasons the Greek philosopher Epicurus (341–270 B.C.) and the British philosopher John Stuart Mill (1806–1873) gave for thinking that happiness is pleasure. Additionally, Drefcinski will set out and defend various arguments that insist that happiness is not pleasure and true happiness is not whatever one thinks it to be.

Following Drefcinski’s presentation, Shiverick will respond. A 30-minute question and answer period will follow his response. Refreshments will be served.