Fourth lecture in the Value of Humanities series in which Professor Helen Small discusses the Humanities' contribution to happiness.
Lecture 4 explores the claim that the humanities have a contribution to make to our individual and collective happiness. This may be their least trusted line of defence now, within the academy, but it has a distinguished history and renewed topicality within government at the time of writing. Efforts to understand gains to the public good in ways that go deeper than economic benefits have received serious attention in recent years, and there have been warm encouragements to think of the emotions and passions as, themselves, goods. The lecture works closely with the philosophy of John Stuart Mill in order to lay out the grounds for a qualitative hedonistic argument for the humanities-testing its weight as a means of rebalancing arguments that stress too exclusively the humanities' critical function.