Happiness and Religion
The specific topic that constitutes the work in progress I would like to discuss at the December meeting is the indispensable role of religion plays for attaining comprehensive human flourishing. I shall pursue this inquiry in conversation with the thought of Thomas Aquinas and with contemporary concepts of human flourishing and of religion. I intend to establish a non-reductive understanding of happiness as comprehensive flourishing, with “comprehensive” transcending the principle of immanentism. Furthermore, I intend to recover a concept of religion that has been largely lost in the contemporary context, namely religion as a moral excellence, a virtue that entails specific practices. Understood in this way, religion enables human beings to occupy their proper place in the world and to exercise their existence fully in relationship to the very source of all being. And this mode of exercising human existence might turn out to be indispensable for a comprehensive human flourishing.