That Flourishing Feeling

Positive psychology is sometimes perceived as putting a premium on pleasant experiences – what critics call “happiology”. Yet just because pleasure is a positive experience doesn’t mean it’s the only positive experience! Yes, it’s true that thinkers as ancient as Socrates and Aristotle have maintained that people who flourish also experience greater enjoyment in life.Continue reading “That Flourishing Feeling”

Social Affordances and Self-Conceptions

As I mentioned a few months ago in my post “Idealism and Identity“, personal identity is, paradoxically, often a social construct. Here I’d like to dig more deeply into why that’s the case, but without straying too far into theoretical matters because I like to provide practical insights in my blog posts. For many yearsContinue reading “Social Affordances and Self-Conceptions”

The Self as an Achievement

What is the self? Naturally this question invokes vast reflections spanning philosophy, psychology, cognitive science, sociology, biology, and many other fields. Although I claim no special insight, in my Aristotle readings over the last few years I chanced upon a fascinating perspective that I thought I’d share. In her book Aristotle’s Philosophy of Friendship (SUNY Press, 1995),Continue reading “The Self as an Achievement”

How Much Is Enough?

As mentioned in my post Delphic Wisdom and Modern Science, on the walls of the ancient Greek temple at Delphi could be found the inscription μηδὲν ἄγαν, meaning “nothing too much”. Yet how can one know how much is enough? Naturally it’s hard to say precisely – after all, if it were easy, life wouldn’tContinue reading “How Much Is Enough?”

Aristotle on Ways of Life

While I’m reflecting on philosophies and ways of life, I thought it would be interesting to look at what Aristotle says about ways of life in his writings on ethics. First, he states that there is a fundamentally human way of life or bios (it always helps to remember that Aristotle founded the science ofContinue reading “Aristotle on Ways of Life”

Philosophies and Ways of Life

In his book What Is Ancient Philosophy?, Pierre Hadot almost singlehandedly resurrected the ancient conception of philosophy as a way of life. Consider this observation about the philosophical schools of Greece and Rome: “For us moderns, the notion of a philosophical school evokes only the idea of a doctrinal tendency or theoretical position. Things were veryContinue reading “Philosophies and Ways of Life”