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Ars Vitae: A Dialogue on Psychological Humanities is a Course

Ars Vitae: A Dialogue on Psychological Humanities

Ended Nov 30, 2022

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Full course description

Thursday, November 10th, 2022 | 7:00-8:30PM (ET) | Hybrid Lecture | Co-Sponsored by the Society for Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology (Division 24 of the American Psychological Association) and the John Templeton Foundation


Murray Room, Yawkey Athletic Center at Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Ave, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467 and Online via Zoom


This event is free to the public. Please use the promotional code ETHICSERIES20 to register at no cost.

This event is $25 for practitioners seeking CEs for this lecture. As per the credentialing bodies, we can only grant CEs for attendance of live events. Please pay and register for the lecture so that we may keep track of your attendance. You CE registration status may not be changed after the event.


This lecture explores the concept of ars vitae, Latin for the art of living. It calls on ancient ways of thinking about the enduring question of how to live in order to imagine new ways of addressing our challenges. Evidence is abundant that modern culture falls short in many ways in providing the resources to live lives of deepest spiritual enrichment. Many actively seek more meaningful approaches to the challenges we face, while some have tragically all but given up. Frustration with superficial messages in everything from advertising to simplistic self-help offerings has helped fuel renewed interest in wisdom traditions extending back to antiquity. In order to assess which of these might be of greater and which might be of lesser help as an alternative, we get deeply into what specifically is lacking in dominant approaches today and what we could do differently.

The lecture will begin with a clear definition of the modern therapeutic consumer culture and its key components. This allows us to grasp fully the limits of our current culture’s ability to help individuals navigate the challenges they face, despite its claims to do so. The lecture will then lay out the very different approaches to the art of living taken by ancient schools of philosophical thought (Stoicism, Epicureanism, Platonism). Identifying their key components allows us to observe a resurgence of these ancient philosophies today, as people seek more helpful approaches. Close-readings of examples of modern cultural artifacts in painting, music, or film allow us to assess the degree to which this cultural resurgence provides a more promising alternative. The lecture provides a critique of forms of self-centeredness dominant today and an argument for a new inwardness—the cultivation of an inner life—drawing on ancient wisdom, with particular attention to the insights of Plato and the Neoplatonists. We will end in contemplation of the fullest ramifications of the prioritization of goodness in our endeavors and in recognition of the good as a basic need of the human person.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this lecture, attendees will be able to:

  1. Identify the notions of “ars vitae” (the art of living) and inwardness (the inner life) and their vital importance for the human person and the community.
  2. Compare the current reductionist sense of inwardness (as pursuit of self-satisfaction based in instrumentalism) rooted in modern therapeutic-consumer culture and deeper ancient notions (as cultivation of inner life aimed at goodness) rooted in philosophy and theology.
  3. Analyze the different approaches taken by the ancient schools of philosophical thought of Stoicism, Epicureanism, and Platonism; where they appear in modern culture; and where they risk perpetuating the current reductionist form of inwardness and where they promise a retrieval of deeper ancient notions.

Timeline and Requirements:

The course will take place on Thursday, November 10th, 2022. This lecture is presenter-led and is a hybrid experience. This will be conducted synchronously online via Zoom and in person (Murray Room, Yawkey Athletic Center at Boston College) from 7:00-8:30PM (ET). 

CE Sponsorship: 

University Counseling Services of Boston College is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. As a co-sponsor of this program, University Counseling Services of Boston College maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Participants will be eligible to receive 6 CE units from University Counseling Services of Boston College.

The Lynch School of Education and Human Development is providing sponsorship for CEUs for Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC). Participants will be eligible to receive 1.5 CE unit. These credits are accepted by the Massachusetts Board of Registration for Licensed Mental Health Counselors (Category I contact hours in Content Area I).

This program has been approved for 1.5 Social Work Continuing Education hours for relicensure, in accordance with 258 CMR. NASW-MA Chapter CE Approval Program Authorization Number D-91402.

Participants must attend the lecture in full and complete the post event survey to be eligible to receive CEs.

This lecture does not offer CEs for other clinicians not listed above. 

Fees and Policies:

This event is free if you are NOT seeking CEs towards your license. If you plan on seeking CEs for this lecture, the cost is $25. Once you have registered for the class, your CE registration status is fixed and cannot be adjusted at a later time.  

Payment is due by credit card at registration. Registration closes November 10th at 7:00PM. Refunds will be granted only up to the time of the lecture. 

These presentations are made possible through the support of Grant 62632 from the John Templeton Foundation. The opinions expressed at this event are those of the presenters and do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation. Additional offerings from the Lynch School Professional & Continuing Education Office can be found on our website