Author comment

I was invited plenary speaker at the Fourth International Conference of the British Association for the Study of Spirituality in 2016. This paper is based on my presentation, though it leaves out a vivid account I gave of my experiences of spiritual happiness triggered by visits to a mountain in Austria. For an only slightly fictionalised account of those visits read my novel Mountain Calls.

  Comment and discussion on Facebook


This paper uses the idea of spiritual happiness to explore some issues regarding the difference between science and spirituality. It suggests that those pursuing spirituality feel more inclined to adopt a modernist theoretical framework than those pursuing religion, and so are hesitant to declare that spirituality has a different ontology, methodology, taxonomy and epistemology than science. The argument is made here that they are indeed different but that as long as spirituality is argued for as intrinsically pluralistic – supported by suitable nuanced taxonomies – it can live comfortably within the modern world and also draw on relevant hard science and social science research to argue its case. This is important where professionals in a wide range of disciplines want to acknowledge the spiritual needs of their practitioners or clients.

The Epistemology of Spiritual Happiness

Keywords: spiritual happiness, ontology, methodology, taxonomy, epistemology.

First published: Journal for the Study of Spirituality, Vol. 6 No. 2, 2016, p. 142-154

Year: 2016, no of words: 6,002