Wisdom in Zen, Daoism and Western Philosophy

Course Dates: 20/04/20 - 06/07/20
Time: 14:45 - 16:45
Location: Online

The great philosophical traditions of Europe and East Asia embody wisdom in the figure of the sage but how do their conceptions of the sage differ?

This course will be delivered online. See the ‘How will I be taught’ section in course details for more information.


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?

Slides and relevant links will be available online. No work outside class.

This course will be delivered online, and will involve tutor presentation and class discussion. Student preparation and homework outside class times is strongly encouraged. To fully participate in this online class you will need:
- An email address
- A reliable internet connection
- A computer/laptop/tablet with a fully updated browser (preferably google chrome). Your device will need a microphone, and preferably a camera.

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?

Check City Lit's website for full details of philosophy courses on offer.

Tutor Biographies
John Goff Tutor Website

From reading Philosophy at a young age to the formal study of Cognitive Science, Philosophy & Psychology at the Universities of London and Sussex - after a prior career in video-arts - John Goff has been presenting philosophy courses to adults since the early 2000s. He uses a cross-disciplinary, seminar-based approach in his courses, drawing on Philosophy, Psychology and the wider Humanities & Social Sciences with an emphasis on the intersection of contemporary and classical European and Asian philosophical thought. He is the author of several works of philosophical fiction concerning artificial minds and organisms and alternative-human worlds including the novel 'The Last Days of the Most Hidden Man' and the novellas 'Eidopolis', 'Agents of Erasure' and 'Jupiter|Saturn'. His academic writings can be found on his academia.edu page at 'https://independentscholar.academia.edu/JohnGoff'.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.

Book your place

Course Code: HP112

Mon, day, 20 Apr - 06 Jul '20

Duration: 10 sessions (over 12 weeks)

Full fee: £199.00
Senior fee: £159.00
Concession: £88.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

Download form & post

Any questions? humanities@citylit.ac.uk
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.