What is the course about?
In examining the value and significance of human existence, the great philosophical traditions of Zen Buddhism, Chinese Daoism and the West intersect and differ. By comparing and contrasting them we gain greater insight into the nature of our existence than we might by following one tradition alone. How compatible are they? Is it possible to create a philosophical synthesis by developing a contemporary conception of the ‘sage’ (wise person)?
What will we cover?
• Key concepts in Zen, Dao and Western Philosophy – e.g., non-duality, dao, logos
• Being\Nothing and Nihilism East and West
• A common existential-phenomenological philosophical basis?
• Differences in the role of reasoning – Pyrrhonian skepticism, Daoist paradox, Zen 'non-sense'
• Cultural backgrounds of East-West traditions
• The sage (wise person)?
• A common philosophy?
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Discuss, simply, the key differences between Zen, Daoism and Western thought using the ‘sage’ (wise person) as an example.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
The course does not assume any prior knowledge, however some familiarity with or interest in East Asian culture/ideas would be beneficial.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The course will run in seminar format with short presentations including group discussion and Q&A. There may 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. Handouts of portions of relevant texts will be provided during the course.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Check City Lit's website for full details of philosophy courses on offer.
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