The Virtue, Happiness and the Meaning of Life project is a 28-month project that uses research focused on self-transcendence to advance understanding of the interrelations of virtue, happiness, and the meaning of life. We believe that self-transcendence is the missing link in current research, crucial to the spiritual dimension of human life.
Research in the humanities and social sciences suggest that individuals who feel they belong to something bigger and better than they are on their own—a family with a long history and the prospect of future generations, a spiritual practice, work on behalf of social justice —often feel happier and have better life outcomes than those who do not. Some scholars have labeled this sense of connection to a larger force “self-transcendence.”
By fostering intensive collaboration between philosophers, religious thinkers, and psychologists, we will investigate whether self-transcendence helps to make ordinary cultivation and exercise of virtue a source of deep happiness and meaning in human life.