What you'll learn

  • Understanding ancient Chinese philosophy to live a better life
  • Tools for self-awareness, the power of ritual, and sensing the world around you
  • How personal actions and counteractions change the world
  • The philosophical theories of Confucius, Mozi, Mencius, Laozi, Zhuangzi, Xunzi, and Han Feizi

Course description

Today, finding happiness is about mindfulness and discovering your true self. You may have heard that happiness is found by looking within. Ancient Chinese philosophy challenges all of these modern assumptions. From Confucianism to Daoism, the philosophies developed over two thousand years ago are among the most powerful in human history. 

This course brings voices from the past into modern contexts to explore the path to a good life today. The philosophical concepts discussed provide tools to change your life and increase personal happiness by focusing on your actions, the power of ritual, and the importance of sensing the world around you. 

Through a series of lectures, animations, discussions, and reflection diaries, this course focuses on close readings from prominent Chinese philosophers. The course requires no prior knowledge of Chinese philosophy or history and all texts are in translation. 

Adapted from one of the most popular classes at Harvard, this course is now available online for the first time. Learn from award-winning professor Michael Puett and start on your path towards happiness.

Instructor

  • Walter C. Klein Professor of Chinese History and Anthropology, Harvard University

Associated Schools

  • Harvard Faculty of Arts & Sciences

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