Art of Living Conference

A conference schedule appears below. All events will take place at the Brown Faculty Club, One Magee Street, Providence. No registration is necessary. See map here.

 Friday, April 26:

Light breakfast available beginning at 9:00.

9:30: Introduction
10:00-11:45 John Cooper (Princeton University): "Ancient Philosophy as a Way of Life"
11:45-1:00 lunch break
1:00-2:45 Alexander Nehamas (Princeton University): "Is Living an Art that Can Be Taught?"
2:45-3:15 break
3:15-5:00 Jonathan Lear (University of Chicago): “"Wisdom from Illness: Psychoanalysis as a Way of Life"
5:00-6:00 reception
6:00-7:30 dinner (invitation only)

 Saturday, April 27:

 Light breakfast available beginning at 9:00.

9:30: Introduction
10:00-11:45 George Vaillant (Harvard University): "Lessons about Love and Life from a 70 Year Prospective Study"
11:45-1:00 lunch break
1:00-2:45 Jan Zwicky (Independent Poet and Scholar): "The Syntax of Ethical Style"
2:45-3:15 break
3:15-5:00 Martha Nussbaum (University of Chicago): "Political Principles and the Good Life in a Pluralistic Society"
5:00-5:30 Closing words
5:30-6:30 Closing reception

Speaker Information

John Cooper is the Henry Putnam University Professor of Philosophy, and Director of the Program in Classical Philosophy at Princeton University. Cooper specializes in Greek philosophy; his published books include Reason and Human Good in Aristotle (1975); Reason and Emotion: Essays on Ancient Moral Psychology and Ethical Theory (1999); and Knowledge, Nature, and the Good: Essays on Ancient Philosophy (2004). He edited Seneca: Moral and Political Essays (1995) and Plato: Complete Works (1997). Cooper’s book Pursuits of Wisdom: Ancient Philosophies as Ways of Life was published in 2012.

Alexander Nehamas is the Edmund N. Carpenter II Class of 1943 Professor in the Humanities, and Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Comparative Literature at Princeton University.  His areas of interest include Greek philosophy, philosophy of art, European philosophy and literary theory.  An associated faculty member of Princeton’s departments of Classics and German, Nehamas was the founding director of the Princeton Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts (1999-2002), was chair of the Council of the Humanities (1994-2002), and was director of the Program in Hellenic Studies (1994-2002).

Nehamas’s published books include Nietzsche: Life as Literature (1985), which has been translated in Italian, German, French, Korean, Japanese, Turkish, Greek, Spanish and Arabic; Plato’s “Symposium,” translated, (1989, with Paul Woodruff); Plato’s “Phaedrus,” translated, (1995, with Paul Woodruff); The Art of Living: Socratic Reflections from Plato to Foucault (1998), which has been translated in German, Greek and Turkish; Virtues of Authenticity: Essays on Plato and Socrates (1999); and Only a Promise of Happiness: The Place of Beauty in a World of Art (2008), which was named Best Book in Philosophy, Professional/Scholarly Division by the Association of American Book Publishers. 

Martha Nussbaum is the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, where she also is an Associate in the Classics Department, the Divinity School and the Political Science Department.  From 1986 to 1993, she was a research advisor at the World Institute for Development Economics Research, Helsinki, a part of the United Nations University.  Nussbaum’s published books include: Aristotle's De Motu Animalium (1978); The Fragility of Goodness: Luck and Ethics in Greek Tragedy and Philosophy (1986, updated 2000); Love's Knowledge (1990); The Therapy of Desire (1994); Poetic Justice (1996); For Love of Country (1996); Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education (1997); Sex and Social Justice (1998); Women and Human Development (2000); Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions (2001); Hiding From Humanity: Disgust, Shame, and the Law (2004); Frontiers of Justice: Disability, Nationality, Species Membership (2006); The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence, and India’s Future (2007);  Liberty of Conscience: In Defense of America’s Tradition of Religious Equality (2008); From Disgust to Humanity: Sexual Orientation and Constitutional Law (2010); Not For Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities (2010);  Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach (2011) ; The New Religious Intolerance: Overcoming the Politics of Fear in an Anxious Age (2012); and Philosophical Interventions: Book Reviews 1985-2011(2012). She has edited 15 books.  Nussbaum currently is working on the book Political Emotions: Why Love Matters for Justice, which will be published by Harvard in 2013.

Jonathan Lear is the John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor at the Committee on Social Thought and in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Chicago. Lear’s areas of specialization are on philosophical conceptions of the human psyche from Socrates to the present; he trained as a psychoanalyst at the Western New England Institute for Psychoanalysis. Lear is a member of the faculty of the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis and of the Western New England Institute for Psychoanalysis. Lear’s books include: Aristotle: The Desire to Understand (1988); Love and its Place in Nature: A Philosophical Interpretation of Freudian Psychoanalysis (1990); Open Minded: Working out the Logic of the Soul (1998); Happiness, Death and the Remainder of Life (2000); Therapeutic Action: An Earnest Plea for Irony (2003); Freud (2005); Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation (2006); and Aristotle and Logical Theory (2010). His most recent book is A Case for Irony (Harvard University Press, 2011).

George Vaillant is Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital. His research career has focused on charting adult development and the recovery process of schizophrenia, heroin addiction, alcoholism, and personality disorder. For the past 35 years, Valliant has served as Director of the Study of Adult Development at the Harvard University Health Service (known as the “Grant Study”).  One of the longest-running studies of normal adult development, the project examines how one can live a long and happy life, following the lives of 824 men and women for nearly 70 years.  Valliant has been a Fellow at the Center for the Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, is a Fellow of the American College of Psychiatrists, and has spoken and consulted for seminars and workshops throughout the world. In the past, a major focus of his work was to develop ways of studying defense mechanisms empirically; more recently he has been interested in successful aging. Awards received by Vaillant include the Foundations Fund Prize for Research in Psychiatry from the American Psychiatric Association, the Strecker Award from the Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital, the Burlingame Award from The Institute for Living, and the Jellinek Award for research in alcoholism. He has twice been awarded research prizes from the International Psychogeriatric Society. Vaillant’s published works include Adaptation to Life (1977), The Wisdom of the Ego (1993), The Natural History of Alcoholism Revisited (1995), Aging Well (2002), and Spiritual Evolution: A Scientific Defense of Faith (2008).

Jan Zwicky is a poet and philosopher, who has published eight collections of poetry including Songs for Relinquishing the Earth(1998), which won the Governor General’s Literary Award in 1999, Robinson’s Crossing (2004) which won the Dorothy Livesay Prize and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award in 2004, and Thirty-Seven Small Songs and Thirteen Silences (2005). Her books of philosophy include Wisdom & Metaphor (2003), which was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award in 2004, and Plato as Artist (2009), which celebrates Plato’s writerly talents.  Zwicky’s latest book of poems, Forge (2011) has been shortlisted for the 2012 Griffin Poetry Prize and the Pat Lowther Award. She has held academic appointments at Princeton University, the University of Waterloo, the University of Western Ontario, the University of New Brunswick, the University of Alberta, and the University of Victoria. Zwicky has taught philosophy, creative writing, and poetry; her essays on topics in music, poetry, philosophy, and the environment have been published widely.