Institute of Education


Why universities should seek happiness and contentment

5:30 pm to 7:00 pm, 07 March 2018

UCL teacher and student discussion

Event Information

Open to



Room 537, UCL Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way London WC1H 0AL

This seminar considers higher education from an alternative perceptive of contentment and tries to develop a clarity between it, happiness, and desire-satisfaction.

Such clarity is needed as the terms are often conflated, leading to confusion in practice. Professor Gibbs seeks to do this by reference to Heidegger and especially to his distinction between emotions (in Gibb's terms; happiness, joy), which are brief and transitory, and moods (contentment, anxiety), which are fundamental and reveal the world to us. These, of course, intermingle but are distinctive in their temporal relevance.

Professor Gibbs argues for a distinction between happiness and contentment, then develops an argument for why contentment ought to be an educational goal, although not dismissing the other forms of happiness.

About the speaker

Paul Gibbs is Director of Education Research at the University of Middlesex. He is a professor of the university and founder of the Centre for Education Research and Scholarship.


This seminar is open and free to all. It may be of particular interest to Higher Education professionals and students.

Please email Alison Peacock to register.



Alison Peacock

Image: Alejandro Walter Salinas Lopez © University College London