Tag Archives: philosophy

What Is Happiness?

This is the first of two posts on the question of happiness.

Nestled within the opulence of Orange County, California, Concordia University Irvine has the distinct mission to develop “wise, honorable, and cultivated citizens.” To this end, the university has created a rich Core Curriculum focused on great works. Eight courses, paired with one another over the first four semesters of a college student’s experience, cover biology, history, theology, philosophy, literature, and mathematics. As students sit in classrooms, library, and dormitory rooms surrounded by professors and books, learning and reading about these subjects, it is tempting to naively believe that the students’ focus aligns with the historic mission of the university.

Encompassing the university, in fact, is the 3rd most populous county in the state, behind only Los Angeles and San Diego, with a median family income of $85,009 (the highest of the top 5 most populated counties in the state). Two of the top 10 richest neighborhoods in the US are minutes away from the university (US Census, 2010). Beaches, snowcapped mountains, Hollywood, and Disneyland are all within a short drive. There appears to be a stark contrast between the life of the student attempting to become wise, honorable and cultivated and the larger community of mansions, Mercedes, and Mickey Mouse.

In reality, however, these seemingly disparate cultures share a common motivation: happiness. Continue reading What Is Happiness?

Philosophy and Virtue

Plato and Aristotle in the School fo Athens

As a father, I want to help my children develop good character—to learn self-control, humility, wisdom, perseverance, and similar virtues. I want the best for my children, and I believe that adults who exercise such virtues are more likely to achieve what is best for them. I have a similar attitude toward my students. I want the best for them, and I think certain virtues will help them achieve it. My role with my students, however, is more limited than with my children. I’m not likely to help my students develop more self-control than they already have, and life will probably teach wisdom better than I can ever hope to. However, there are two virtues I can help my students develop: humility and perseverance. Continue reading Philosophy and Virtue