Japanese philosophy

Course Dates: 12/04/18 - 28/06/18
Time: 14:30 - 16:30
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Tutor: John Goff

Japanese philosophy extends well beyond Zen with several philosophical traditions including that of the modern Kyoto School. Developing distinct cultural, aesthetic and political concepts, Japanese philosophers offer a rich field of thought.


What is the course about?

An overview of some of the major strands of Japanese philosophy from around the 7th Century CE to the present.

What will we cover?

The strands that we will explore will include: Buddhist traditions such as Zen and Pure Land; Neo-Confucianism (the development of Chinese philosophy by Japanese thinkers); Shinto and 'Native' Studies (thinking on the 'way' of Japan) ; and contemporary thought from The Kyoto School and associated thinkers. We will also dedicate some time to Aesthetic traditions including reference to contemporary culture.

Some of the thinkers we will consider will include: Dogen, Zeami, Nishida, Nishitani, and Watsuji.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

Provide a brief exposition of some of the main ideas of the key traditions of Japanese Philosophy using simple examples to illustrate those ideas.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course does not assume any prior knowledge. Some prior exposure to Buddhist or Chinese philosophy would be beneficial but is not required.

The key textbook for the course will be (there is no requirement to buy this):

Japanese Philosophy: A Sourcebook. 2011. James W. Heisig et al (Eds.). Univ. Hawai'i Press.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Course will run in seminar format with short presentations including discussion and Q&A. There will be some readings discussed in pairs or small groups in the sessions. Slides and relevant links will be available online. No work outside class.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Notemaking equipment of your own choice.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details


This course has now started

Course Code: HP112

Started Thu, day, 12 Apr - 28 Jun '18

Duration: 12 sessions (over 12 weeks)

Full fee: £189.00
Senior fee: £151.00
Concession: £83.00
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Please note: Different fees may apply for international students. Read full guidance.