The ancient Greek philosophers defined eudaimonia as living a full and excellent life. In this illustrated talk, Maria Sanders explores how ideas of happiness have changed in Western civilization through the ages, while comparing and contrasting major concepts of well-being throughout the world. Can money buy happiness? To what extent does engaging in one’s community impact happiness? When worldwide surveys of happiness are conducted, why doesn’t the United States make the top ten? Participants will be invited to discuss various definitions, current measures for assessing self-reported levels of happiness, specific findings reported as increasing people’s levels of happiness, and happiness projects undertaken by entire communities —including a town-wide happiness quest in Plymouth, New Hampshire.

Maria Sanders is a Philosophy professor and coordinates the Philosophy program at Plymouth State University. She is an applied ethicist whose research engages the public in scholarly philosophical dialogue within the areas of medicine, business, education, and law while encouraging thoughtful interaction with existing and emerging technologies in an attempt to create opportunities for civic engagement and reflective living. Dr. Sanders also hosts a weekly radio program on WPCR-Plymouth (91.7 FM) entitled Philosophy 4 Life which offers a public forum for philosophical discourse. She also co-hosts a television show, Happiness Quest, on Pemi-Baker Cable TV and is currently leading a town-wide "Happiness Quest" in Plymouth, New Hampshire.