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Beginning in August of 1999, I gave a series of eight lectures on “The Pursuit of Happiness: Philosophies East and West,” dealing with different conceptions of the good life. The syllabus was:
- Harmony, Inner and Outer (Plato, Lao Tzu)
- Self-Actualization (Montaigne, Nietzsche)
- Detachment (Epictetus, the Buddha)
- Duty (Confucius, Kant, Montaigne)
- Pleasure (Callicles, Epicurus)
- The Conquest of Nature (Ayn Rand)
- The Spiritual Life (William James)
I have tapes of all eight lectures, and the sound quality so far seems pretty good. I will put them online in 16 parts. As usual, the students’ questions were often not caught by the microphone, so they were edited out. But my answers make clear what the questions were. Unfortunately, the last 35 minutes or so of the lecture, in which I discussed Taoism, were cut off. Apparently the tape player stopped working, and I did not notice. So we only have a discussion of Plato and happiness as the inner harmony of the soul.