The purpose of the Eudaimonia Institute (EI) is to explore the elements of and institutions that support eudaimonia, or genuine human flourishing. We are a community of scholars dedicated to developing an interdisciplinary understanding of what eudaimonia is, what the institutions are that support it, and what its chief obstacles are, all in the hopes of enabling more people to achieve eudaimonia.
The mission of the EI is to investigate the nature of eudaimonia, or genuine human flourishing, and the political, economic, social, and cultural institutions that encourage and discourage it.
We are interested in the exploration of both the theory of what eudaimonia is as well as its practical implications. We seek to understand what kinds of lives are truly worth living, as well as what policies, practices, and conventions should be encouraged to help people to lead such lives. We investigate eudaimonia not only at the level of individuals but also at the levels of organizations, communities, and societies. We expect that our research will help shape social reform and the national conversation, but we will not limit or confine our investigations by any prior concerns for their policy implications. Finally, the curricular and pedagogical implications of our research are also important to us: What does our research say about how we should frame liberal arts and professional education?
Eudaimonia (pronounced you-die-mo-NEE-uh) is Aristotle’s word for the ultimate end or goal in human life, the end for the sake of which we do everything else. It is typically translated as “happiness,” “flourishing,” or “well-being.” Broadly speaking, it is the cognizance of a life well and fully lived, a life of meaning and purpose in the service of goals, ends, and values worth serving.
Our investigations are motivated by the following criteria: to partner with and support the research of faculty at Wake Forest University; to bring in visitors and speakers; to host conferences and workshops; to support faculty members who can have homes in departmental units of WFU and also have an affiliation with the EI that will enable them to conduct research that furthers the missions of both their departments and the EI; and to situate our research within Wake Forest University’s Pro Humanitate educational vision.
In light of these parameters, here are some of the lines of research the EI is committed to exploring: