All ethical and theological schools since antiquity have been concerned with man and man’s happiness (eudaimonia) and well-being. In one way or another, the ancient Greek and Chinese ethical systems attempt to save man from the sufferings of our mundane existence and, quite often, of what awaits us in the life to come. They try to show man the way to a kind of internal peace, ataraxia and eudaimonia that grants us with immunity to errors, psychological upheavals, moral lapses and the misfortunes of worldly life. Not only this. What the ethical schools of antiquity, whether of a Chinese or a Hellenic origin, emphasize is that eudaimonia is not a goal achievable by any human being. Man can only eventually become eudaimon (εὐδαίμων), if he consciously tries to control all aspects of human nature and becomes wise, according to certain schools, a god according to others, or in unity with Tao according to Taoism.
Man’s conquest of his weaknesses is a rather complicated issue with which each school deals differently. Some of these schools view human life as a kind of a continuous struggle between our human, weak and vulnerable aspect and our godly aspect at the end of which virtue and wisdom prevail. Some others regard that this struggle, even though it is conducted in the context of our worldly life, continues in infinite time, under the assumption of the immortal soul and the existence of a supreme being such as God. Nevertheless, no matter how we conceive the accomplishment of eudaimonia, the truth is that it is a long and difficult journey which requires conscious internal lifelong efforts, the contribution of external circumstances and, in certain cases, the existence of an omnipotent God, or at least the assumption of his existence.
The Conference will address all such and other similar issues. Both historical and analytical (or systematic) approaches will be adopted. The main aim and concern of the Conference is to bring forward the points of contact between the ancient Greek and the Chinese approaches to virtue and eudaimonia. As a consequence, particular emphasis will be given to all approaches that embark on a fruitful comparison of the two philosophical traditions.
- Laboratory of Philosophical Research on the Imaginary, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
- Philosophein. Politika Anthropologika
- Qufu Normal University, China