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Friendship and Happiness Debate

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Mark Vernon & Richard Schoch Chair: Jonathan Carr-West, RSA

Friendship is key to happiness but we cannot find happiness in isolation. According to Aristotle “Without friends none of the other good things in life would be worth having”. Yet friendship is often ignored or sidelined in current debates on happiness. One of the best habits to develop for being happy is that of friendship. So what is friendship? What are its nature and rules, its perils and its promise? And can we be happy in a society where citizens are routinely treated as threats or rivals rather than as actual or potential friends?

Richard Schoch is Professor of the History of Culture at Queen Mary, University of London, where he is also Director of the Graduate School in Humanities and Social Sciences. His most recent book is “The Secrets of Happiness: Three Thousand Years of Searching for the Good Life”. Schoch has pursued happiness for the Independent on Sunday, Daily Telegraph, The Philosophers’ Magazine, BBC One’s ‘Heaven and Earth Show’ and Radio 4’s ‘Start the Week’. He is currently writing a book on leisure.

Mark Vernon is a writer, broadcaster, blogger and journalist. He is the author of ‘The Philosophy of Friendship’ and ‘Science, Religion and the Meaning of Life’ and a regular contributor to Management Today, the Guardian, the Financial Times, the TLS and other business publications. He also broadcasts on the BBC , most notably for Radio 4’s In Our Time.

This event is FREE and open to the public but advance booking is necessary. Reserve seats by booking online at or contact:

RSA Lectures, 8 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6EZ Email: Telephone: 020 7451 6868 Fax 020 7839 5805

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