Welcome to School of Philosophy Wessex

Your Invitation to life with Philosophy

Happiness Course details

Week 1: The True Nature of Happiness

How do we seek happiness? True happiness and unity: ‘May all be happy’ as an intent. Tolstoy: happiness through serving one’s neighbour. Observation, the conscious perceiver and the present moment.


Week 2: Happiness and society

Is happiness natural? Analogy of light bulbs. Relationship between happiness and law.


Week 3: Happiness and Utilitarianism

Bentham, Mill. Gandhi’s criticism and an alternative view to utilitarianism. The art of listening: practical exercise.


Week 4: Happiness and pleasure

Hedonism, Epicurus and Plato. Plato suggests two categories, necessary and unnecessary pleasures. Introduction to the Upanishads: finding satisfaction in oneself.


Week 5: Happiness and the Platonic Goods

Divine goods: wisdom, self-control, justice and courage. Human goods: health, beauty, strength and wealth. Are these the way to happiness?


Week 6: Rejoice in the present

Introduction to Marsilio Ficino, renaissance philosopher. Key phrases inscribed on academy walls.


Week 7: Rejoice in the present.

Introduction to Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching. Tea ceremony. Exploring effortless action.


Week 8: Happiness and contentment

Introduction to Patanjali and the 8-fold system of yoga, meditation, contentment. What about ambition? Finding happiness in work: 2 principles for finding happiness in work.


Week 9: Happiness and work

2 more principles for finding happiness in work. Practical exercise to discover more about the principles of work in action.


Week 10: Happiness and wisdom

The connection between wisdom and happiness. Marcus Aurelius; you don’t need much to live happily. Review of the term.