Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cafe Philo in New York City meets this week on Thursday, 4/22: Is Happiness a Final State?

Cafe Philo in New York City will meet this week on Thursday, April 22, 2010 with a discussion on the topic of "Is Happiness a Final State?"

I have been acting as guest moderator lately. Bernard Roy has been attending recently as a participant.

I did have a couple of quick thoughts on the topic:

1) What exactly comprises "happiness"? Is it comfort, satisfaction, calm, peace, bliss, harmony, or what? Is happiness like cholesterol and there is "good" happiness and "bad" happiness? So what exactly comprises the "good" happiness?
2) Aristotle apparently considered happiness as an "end", but I'm not sure exactly what he meant.
3) Buddhists and the attainment of Nirvna - how does that relate to so-called happiness.
4) Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Self-actualization seems to be the end state. How does this relate to happiness?
5) By "final" state, do we mean "permanent" or "peak"? If one does achieve "true" happiness, is it a "happily everafter" state, or just transitory and are we just as likely to revert into unhappiness?
6) How does happiness relate to the concepts of "paradise", "Eden" (as in the Garden of Eden), and "heaven"?

Catch up with preparatory online discussions in the Yahoo! group for Cafe Philo NYC.

As usual, the meeting will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the back room at Bamiyan Restaurant (Afghan food) at the northwest corner of Third Avenue and 26th Street in New York City. In exchange for free meeting space, it is expected that each attendee will purchase a minimum of $5 of food or drink. A glass of red wine can be had for $6 (plus tax and tip.)

After winding down our discussion, we entertain and vote on proposals for the topic question for the next meeting.

There is also usually some number of attendees who go across the street to McCormack's Bar for drinks and food and extended discussion after Cafe Philo, but not limited to the scheduled discussion topic.

There are a number of small groups in the U.S. and Europe who meet regularly to discuss topics related to philosophy. Some of these groups go by the name "Cafe Philo." There is one here in New York City that meets every two weeks, every other Thursday. It is organized and moderated by Bernard Roy, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Ramapo College of New Jersey. Each meeting focuses on a specific topic which was suggested and voted on by the participants at the last meeting.

Also, there is an online discussion forum for the NYC Cafe Philo at:

There is also a new web site for NYC Cafe

I have been attending the NYC Cafe Philo off and on since 2004. Previously I had attended the Cafe Philo in Washington, D.C. starting in 2001.

-- Jack Krupansky


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