To the Best of Our Knowledge

From Knowledge to Wisdom:
Science and the Good Life

Ever since Socrates declared “the unexamined life is not worth living,” philosophers have been engaged in a passionate debate: What is the good life? What is the nature of happiness, and how can it be attained? Is morality or virtue a prerequisite to the good life? Is a meaningful life also a happy one? What is the path toward human flourishing?

While philosophers have been grappling with these questions for millennia, modern science has only recently begun to broach the problem of what constitutes the good life. Various scientific disciplines such as sociology, economics, neuroscience, and psychology have devised innovative and empirical methods for assessing subjective states of happiness and well-being, providing us with intriguing new clues about our complex nature as humans and what actually fosters a happy and meaningful life.

Moderated by journalist Steve Paulson, Executive Producer of Wisconsin Public Radio’s To the Best of our Knowledge, this timely and engaging three-part series at the New York Academy of Sciences brings together an array of leading scientists, philosophers, and scholars for an interdisciplinary investigation into the evolving nature of the human condition and the ultimate quest to discover how to lead the good life.


A New Science of Happiness: The Paradox of Pleasure
Thursday, October 8, 2015 | 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM Sold Out

How does the relationship between happiness and pleasure shape our quest to lead the good life? Attorney Kim Azzarelli, historian Darrin McMahon, and psychologist Barry Schwartz discuss their research on happiness, pleasure, and the coveted good life. Learn More
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The Moral Animal: Virtue, Vice & Human Nature
Wednesday, December 9, 2015 | 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM Sold Out

Is a basic model of human nature necessary to navigate the good life? Philosopher Christian Miller, cognitive neuroscientist Heather Berlin, and science writer Michael Shermer examine our moral ecology and its influence on our assumptions about human nature. Learn More
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Cultivating Character: The Art of Living
Wednesday, February 3, 2016 | 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM Sold Out

Philosopher of science Philip Kitcher joins Humean philosopher Valerie Tiberius and distinguished psychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett to explore the meaning of wisdom and the interplay between positive emotions, virtues, character and human flourishing. Learn More
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