Artists and projects
Humanities and Human Flourishing Project

The arts and humanities – collectively referred to as culture – are critical for human flourishing. Religion, philosophy, history, literature, music, art, theatre, film, and similar cultural pursuits play central roles in the education of children, the leisure time of adults, and the cohesion of communities, nations, and society at large. Yet we have little scientific knowledge about the relationship between cultural engagement and individual and collective human flourishing.

The Positive Humanities is an emerging new field bringing together the humanities (including the arts) and the sciences to understand, assess, and advance the role of culture in human flourishing. Foundational conceptual pieces (including conceptual models to support scientific research) have been published, and there is growing international interest in this field. Having conducted foundational, interdisciplinary research since 2014, the Humanities and Human Flourishing Project seeks to explore the various ways the arts and humanities relate to well-being and are guided by the following research questions:

  • In what ways do the arts and humanities support flourishing?
  • Do they contribute to well-being in any unique ways in which other endeavors do not?
  • Do some forms of engagement in culture support human flourishing more effectively than others?
  • Are there ways in which the arts and humanities could be more effective in supporting well-being?
  • Are there ways in which they obstruct human flourishing?
  • How can we use cultural pursuits to cultivate well-being for individuals, communities, and society at large?
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