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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 began putting these online in 2014, but I ran into problems. The sound quality of some of the tapes was poor, some students were fond of hearing their own voices and I was not assertive enough to keep the lecture on track, and I just don’t think I did a good job on some topics.
The lecture on “The Conquest of Nature,” however, came out pretty well. The sound quality is clear but harsh, as I had to use a lot of noise reduction. The texts discussed are the opening pages of The Fountainhead , the About the Author note in Atlas Shrugged , and the essays “Apollo 11” and “Epitaph for a Culture” in The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought , ed. Leonard Peikoff. I have posted 40:55 of Q&A and discussion here .