Eudaimonia & Human Flourishing

Generous funding from the Carlsberg and Pettit Foundations has allowed the establishment of the Centre at Linacre College, University of Oxford, The Centre undertakes interdisciplinary research into Human Flourishing, Eudaimonia and the Life Well-Lived with a special focus on human brain dynamics through its link with the Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford and Center for Music in the Brain, Aarhus University, Denmark.

Professor Morten L Kringelbach is the founding director and Erel Shalit Carlsberg Foundation Senior Research Fellow. The Centre follows Aristotle and Bentham in conceptually distinguishing between the hedonic — involving pleasure and the avoidance of pain — and the eudaimonic ingredients of well-being, while acknowledging that there is a close empirical link between them.

The Centre convenes and fosters an interdisciplinary team of neuroscientists, philosophers, psychologists, social scientists, physicists, biologists, anthropologists, and artists. The collaborative goal is to clarify underlying psychological, cultural and philosophical issues and connect these discussions to contemporary investigation of the neural mechanisms of emotional and cognitive states. The research teams use philosophical, anthropological and psychological analyses as well as precise neuroscientific paradigms in collaboration with international partners.

Human Flourishing

A unique international collaboration bringing together scholars, scientists and artists from around the world to shed new light on human flourishing

Erel Shalit in memoriam

The Erel Shalit Carlsberg Foundation Senior Research Fellowship is named for Erel Shalit (1950-2018), the distinguished Jungian scholar, analyst, teacher, and author, who devoted his life to the promotion of human flourishing.

The research in the Centre is inspired by Erel Shalit’s work and also by Carl Jung’s thoughts and writings on the making of meaning, following Jung’s dictum that “the least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it”. Central to Jung’s original investigation into meaning is the idea of the daimon, the force that drives individuation. This concept is closely related to eudaimonia, which etymologically consists of the words ‘eu’ (‘good’) and ‘daimōn’ (‘spirit’). Thus eudaimonia, lying at the root of human flourishing, may be thought of as attainment of an inspirational relationship to this daimon that shapes and shadows the self during the process of individuation. Subjectively, as the potential wellspring of contentment, eudaimonia is the conscious awareness of this daimon continuously crafting the self through experience, learning, and introspection.