Internationally acclaimed philosopher Owen Flanagan, Ph.D., will examine the meaning of life and pursuit of happiness during a public appearance at Hanover College. He will speak at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 4, in the Ogle Center. Admission is free.

Owen Flanagan headshot

Flanagan, the James B. Duke professor of philosophy at Duke University, specializes in the philosophy of mind and psychiatry, ethics, moral psychology and cross-cultural philosophy. During his address, he will delve into the aspects that create a meaningful life and true happiness. Through the lenses of cross-cultural philosophy, neuroscience and economics, he will explore the question of what really matters in life, comparing such perceived elements of happiness as the acquisition of money and fame versus morality and friendship.

Flanagan, who has taught at Duke since 1993, is entrenched in a variety of programs at the university. He is co-director of Duke’s Center for Comparative Philosophy, holds appointments in psychology and neurobiology, is a faculty fellow in cognitive neuroscience and a steering committee member of the Philosophy, Arts and Literature program, as well as an affiliate of the Graduate Program in Literature.

Prior to joining the faculty at Duke, Flanagan taught at Wellesley College for 16 years. He has held visiting positions at Harvard University, Princeton University, University of California, Berkeley, Brandeis University, University of Vienna, City University of Hong Kong and La Trobe University in Australia.

He has held several fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2015-16, he was Rockefeller Fellow at the National Humanities Center in North Carolina. In 2016-17, he was Berggruen Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.

Flanagan served as president of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology in 1993-94. In 1998, he was recipient of the Romanell National Phi Beta Kappa award, given annually to one American philosopher for distinguished contributions to philosophy and the public understanding of philosophy.