An Interdependent Approach to Happiness and Well-Being

On November 30th, CERC held a talk by Prof. Jeremy Rappleye on the topic of the approach to happiness. This talk was based on his latest book “An Interdependent Approach to Happiness and Well-Being” (Palgrave, 2023), co-authored with Yukiko Uchida. The talk aimed to provide a historical and comparative perspective on the definition of happiness. In particular, it highlighted the unique understanding of happiness in Japanese society and critiqued the dominant measurement frameworks used by international organizations such as the OECD, UNICEF, and UNESCO. These organizations and their indices, according to the speaker, tend to conceptualize happiness and well-being based on Western European and American philosophical, cultural, and social sciences. The talk delved into these policies and biases, drawing from the insights presented in the speaker’s new book.

This seminar was chaired by Nutsa Kobakhidze and attended by over 40 online participants from around the world, as well as 38 faculty staff and students. Following the talk, the audience engaged in a discussion, raising questions about the philosophical assumptions of happiness and its ontological and epistemological aspects. This led to critical reflections on how happiness is understood and how it can be known. CERC plans to organize more engaging seminars in the coming week, stay tuned for our next seminar on December 4th.