Course Dates: 16/02/19
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Tutor: John Goff

Neo-Daoism (Xuanxue, ’dark study’) aimed at unlocking the mystery of the Dao (‘Way’) to achieve human flourishing and even immortality.


What is the course about?

From around the 2nd to the 6th centuries, classical Daoism was given a cultural direction based on a concern with the nature of the Dao (‘Way’) and possible immortality. This ‘movement’ became known as ‘dark learning’ (Xuanxue). The goal of Xuanxue was to unlock the mystery of the Dao and bring to light its nature and function as it affects human being and flourishing in the cosmos.

What will we cover?

• Key Neo-Daoist thinkers, in brief, such as He Yan, Wang Bi, Ji Kang and Ruan Ji.
• Key concepts such as ‘ziran’ (naturalness, spontaneity), ‘wu’ (nothingness), ‘wu wei’ (non-doing).
• ‘Pure Conversation’ as a philosophical/cultural way of life.

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

Give a simple exposition of some of the basic ideas of ‘Neo-Daoism’.

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

No prior knowledge is assumed. A willingness to critically examine concepts and some basic familiarity with
discussion/debate, argument and evaluation will be beneficial.

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

The course will run in a seminar format with short slide presentation including Q&A and group discussion. No
outside work is required.

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

Nothing other than your own note-making materials.

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

You might be interested in John Goff's Neo-Confucianism, (HP122) on 23.2.19.
For further information about the full range of philosophy courses on offer, please go to our website -

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


Book your place

Course Code: HP090

Sat, day, 16 Feb - 16 Feb '19

Duration: 1 session

Full fee: £49.00
Senior fee: £39.00
Concession: £25.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

Download form & post

Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2652

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.