VIDEO: The History of Happiness

VIDEO: The History of Happiness

“The idea that more is always desirable puts us into conflict with each other. It’s what generates a lot of the economic injustice that we see, and it puts a huge pressure on the environment. … The ancient ideal of happiness is more fulfilling, more balanced, and I want my students to see that this way of happiness is a better one.”

In this lecture from the 2020 National Symposium for Classical Education, Dr. Mary Hirschfield explores how our understanding of happiness has changed over the centuries, and how virtue education can help us to turn away from a model of happiness that focuses on acquisition to one that is centered on the good life.

Dr. Mary Hirschfeld is Associate Professor of Economics and Theology in the Department of Humanities at Villanova University. A professor at Villanova since 2011, Dr. Hirschfeld regularly teaches the Humanities gateways Society and God, and honors ACS seminars (ancients and moderns). She completed a Ph.D. in economics (Harvard University) under the direction of Lawrence Summers and Jeffrey Williamson, and a Ph.D. in Moral Theology (University of Notre Dame) under the direction of Jean Porter. Her research is on the boundary between economics and theology, culminating in her book Aquinas and the Market: Toward a Humane Economy (Harvard University Press, 2018).

Image: Eduoard Cortes, Flower Market At La Madeleine, oil on canvas,


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