Skip to content

Happiness East and West

Zhuangzi dreams he is a butterfly?

It is difficult, I admit, to combine the carefulness of one who is devoted to material things with the constancy of one who disregards them, but it is not impossible: if it were, it would be impossible to be happy”

(Epictetus, The Discourses, 2.5.10).

Happiness East and West was a collaborative research project in the Department of Philosophy from 2007-2014. It was established and managed by Timothy O’Leary.

Commenced in 2007, it involved a major international conference in 2009, and the work of  a Post-Doctoral Fellow (Dr Bill Haines) on Chinese philosophical ethics (2007-9). The second postdoctoral fellow, Dr Barbara Dalle Pezze (2009-11) worked on philosophical approaches to therapy and medicine in both the Chinese and Western traditions. The third postdoctoral fellow, Dr Edoardo Zamuner (2012-14), worked on a joint project with the Dept of Psychology.



  • Dr Edoardo Zamuner joined the project in Feb 2012 to work on “Psychological Well-Being East and West: Philosophical Foundations”. This was a joint project with the Department of Psychology, HKU. Along with Dr Zamuner, I co-edited a Special Issue of the journal Philosophical Topics on the theme “Happiness”, Published in Feb 2015 (with official date of Vol. 41, No. 1, Spring 2013)..


  • I recorded a discussion (with my colleague Dr Chris Fraser) on “Happiness East and West” for the RTHK Radio 3 program ‘The Big Idea’. It was broadcast on Nov 25th 2011.


  • A Post-Doctoral Fellow, Dr Barbara Dalle Pezze, carried out a project on philosophical approaches to therapy and medicine in both the Chinese and Western traditions. This was a collaboration between the Project and the Centre for the Humanities and Medicine at HKU. For more details, see here.


  • A workshop on “Happiness and the Dao: Ancient Greek and Chinese Ethics” was held at HKU on March 25-26, 2011. Speakers included Prof A.A. Long of U.C. Berkeley, Prof Nicholas D. Smith of Lewis and Clark College, Prof Y. Huang of Kutztown University, and a range of speakers from Hong Kong and Singapore. See HERE for details.

%d bloggers like this: