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Why universities should seek happiness and contentment


CHES Seminar Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Why universities should seek happiness and contentment


Professor Paul Gibbs, Department of Education, Middlesex University

5.30 – 7.00 pm, Room 537, Level 5, UCL Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H OAL

This seminar considers higher education from an alternative perceptive of contentment and tries to develop a clarity between it, happiness and desire satisfaction. Such clarity is needed as the terms are often conflated, leading to confusion in practice. Professor Gibbs seeks to do this by reference to Heidegger and especially to his distinction between emotions (in Professor Gibb’s terms; happiness, joy), which are brief and transitory, and moods (contentment, anxiety), which are fundamental and reveal the world to use. These, of course, intermingle but are distinctive in their temporal relevance. Professor Gibbs argues for a distinction between happiness and contentment, then develops an argument for why contentment ought to be an educational goal, although not dismissing the other forms of happiness.

Paul Gibbs is Director of Education Research at the University of Middlesex. He is a professor of the University, founder of the Centre for Education Research and Scholarship and a visiting professor Fellow at the Open University in Hong Kong. He has published twenty books on topics ranging from the marketing of higher education and transdisciplinary higher education. His particular approach is informed through the works of Heidegger.  He is also the series editor of SpringerBriefs on Key Thinkers in Education and Debating Higher Education: Philosophical Perspectives for Springer Academic Press.

For more information contact:

Alison Peacock

Administration – Centre for Higher Education Studies

Room 400

UCL Institute of Education, University College London

20 Bedford Way, London WC1H OAL

Tel: 020 7612 6383


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