What Good is Happiness? A Dialogue Between Economics & Philosophy

Feb 12, 2020
Ida Noyes, Third Floor Theatre
1212 E 59th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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Jennifer FreyUniversity of South Carolina

Jonathan MasurUniversity of Chicago

Presented by the Veritas Forum at the University of Chicago, Cana, Cru, Graduate Christian Fellowship, Holy Trinity Church, InterVarsity, Living Hope Church, The Lumen Christi Institute, MakeNew, the Calvert House Catholic Center, the Catholic Students Association, and the Saint Thomas More Society.

From pop psychology to legal annals, the pursuit of happiness individually and collectively remains a persistent concern of our culture. Yet, the very concept is fractured. What is happiness? Is it a good among many? A feeling? A commodity? Is it simply a matter of preference fulfillment or is caught up in the more arduous task of self-perfection and virtue? Is it tied to the good, perhaps even THE good? How might interdisciplinary engagement be possible when distinct disciplines like Philosophy and Economics maintain such divergent views on happiness? In this evening discussion, philosophy professor Jennifer Frey (University of South Carolina) and legal scholar Jonathan Masur (University of Chicago) enter into dialogue on the meaning and merits of happiness for the self and for society.

Prof. Frey also gave a downtown luncheon talk on "Flannery O'Connor and the Vision of Grace" on February 13, 2020, and led a lunch discussion for students and faculty on novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch, on February 14, 2020.

Jennifer Frey is the incoming inaugural dean of the Honors College at the University of Tulsa. Through Spring of 2023, she served as Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Carolina and as a fellow of the Institute for Human Ecology at the Catholic University of America. She also previously served as a Collegiate Assistant Professor of Humanities at the University of Chicago, where she was a member of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts and an affiliated faculty in the philosophy department. Frey holds a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh and a B.A. from Indiana University-Bloomington. She has published widely on action, virtue, practical reason, and meta-ethics, and has recently co-edited an interdisciplinary volume, Self-Transcendence and Virtue: Perspectives from Philosophy, Theology, and Psychology (Routledge, 2018)Her writing has also been featured in First ThingsFare ForwardImageLaw and LibertyPloughThe Point, and USA Today. She also hosts a popular philosophy and literature podcast, Sacred and Profane Love.

Jonathan Masur is the John P. Wilson Professor of Law at the University of Chicago.  He is also the David and Celia Hilliard Research Scholar and the founding Director of the Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz Program in Behavioral Law, Finance and Economics. He received undergraduate degrees in physics  political science from Stanford University in 1999, and a JD from Harvard Law School in 2003. He clerked for Chief Judge Marilyn Hall Patel of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and for Judge Richard Posner of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. He joined the Law School faculty in 2007, and served as Deputy Dean from 2012 to 2014. Masur's research and teaching interests include patent law, administrative law, behavioral law and economics, and criminal law.