David Bloch, Active Wisdom, Human Happiness

Ancient philosophers held many different views, but most of them seem to have agreed that the use of one’s mind (nous) was an essential part of life. Aristotle was the heir of a long philosophical tradition, and in his work we find many discussions of the importance of the human mind, but they are not easily understood, and sometimes they even seem to contradict each other. It is clear, however, that it is the mind that makes human beings different from, and more than, animals, and as such it is clearly important for human happiness. It is less clear how it is important.

In this paper, David Bloch will examine what kind of role the active mind plays in obtaining human happiness.


The Copenhagen Intellectual History Seminar

Fall 2014: Wisdom and Its Practitioners

Wisdom is a multifaceted concept with various meanings in philosophy, theology, literature, religion, the arts and psychology. As such, wisdom denotes an enormous field. In a series of talks we focus not on the object of wisdom, but on the agents who seek, possess or lose wisdom. Although the wise might be mostly an ideal, we still find him or her depicted in various ways. What does it imply to be wise? Is the wise person a knowledgeable or an experienced person? How can wisdom be acquired? Can it be taught? Can it be lost? Can it be transformed? Can it transform the agent him- or herself? How did the understanding of the wise person change over time? We would like to address these kinds of question from a historical and interdisciplinary perspective through the seminars held in the fall of 2014.

The papers are held at the University of Copenhagen, The Faculty of Humanities, Southern Campus, Karen Blixens Vej 4, 2300 Copenhagen S; http://humanities.ku.dk/education/campus/. For further information, please contact the organizers: Associate Professor Leo Catana (catana@hum.ku.dk) and Associate Professor Sabrina Ebbersmeyer (rtg643@hum.ku.dk). For The Copenhagen Intellectual History Seminar, please see http://intellectualhistory.ku.dk.