Founded in 2016, the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard's Institute for Quantitative Social Science aims to contribute to, bring together, and disseminate knowledge from various academic fields on topics fundamental to human flourishing, and to develop and implement systematic approaches to the synthesis of knowledge across disciplines.
Many topics that are fundamental to human well-being such as happiness itself, virtue, religious community, meaning, and purpose have traditionally been viewed as principally falling within the purview of the humanities, often of philosophy or theology. However, a robust empirical research literature on these topics has now developed from sociology, political science, economics, education, psychology, medicine, public health, and other empirical sciences. The program’s research contributes to the broad question of how knowledge from the quantitative social sciences can be integrated with that of the humanities on questions of human flourishing and how best to carry out this synthesis of knowledge across disciplines. The program hopes to bring greater unity to the empirical social sciences and the humanities.
The program produces research publications and sponsors educational activities, such as courses, seminars, and conferences, for the Harvard University community all aimed at bringing knowledge together across disciplines and reflecting upon how knowledge from different disciplines might form a coherent whole.