Eastern Philosophy: The Quest for Happiness

What if you could always be happy? Do you think that’s even possible? If so, how? About 2,500 years ago, philosophers in India and China were asking themselves these questions, and their answers may surprise you.

Using the novel The Circle of Happiness and the accompanying The Circle of Happiness Travel Guide, students will go on a quest for the meaning of happiness, encountering along the way the ideas of seven influential Eastern philosophers: the Buddha, the Upanishadic thinkers, Mahavira, Charvaka, Goshala, Confucius, and Lao-Tzu. Throughout the course, they will examine the foundational philosophical arguments of these thinkers, analyze primary source material, question their assumptions about what happiness is and how it might be achieved, and debate whether or not they think these ancient philosophers were onto something important or helpful.

Live Classes: Thursdays, 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time

Assignments: Weekly assignments will include readings and short written responses to the material. Emphasis will be placed not only on understanding the arguments of these philosophers but also on learning how to evaluate the strengths and/or weaknesses of these arguments logically using structured, clear, and well-supported reasoning.

Student Support: An online question-and-answer forum will be provided as students complete the assignments, and the instructor is available by email.

Feedback/Assessment: Feedback will be provided on written assignments.

Materials/Supplies: Students will need to purchase the books The Circle of Happiness and The Circle of Happiness Travel Guide. PURCHASE THE BOOKS FOR THIS COURSE HERE.

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