The Conduct of Life in Western and Eastern Philosophy

The Conduct of Life in Western and Eastern Philosophy

Mr. Roberto Mangabeira Unger, Professor Michael Puett
Spring 2019 course
W 1:00pm - 3:00pm in Langdell Hall Langdell North
2 classroom credits

Prerequisites: None

Exam: Takehome, not administered by HLS

A study of approaches in the philosophical traditions of the West and the East to the conduct of life. Philosophical ethics has often been understood as meta-ethics: the development of a method of moral inquiry or justification. Here we focus instead on what philosophy has to tell us about the first-order question: How should we live our lives?

This year a major concern will be the study and contrast of two such orientations to existence. One is the philosophical tradition focused on ideas of self-reliance, self-construction, and nonconformity (exemplified by Emerson and Nietzsche). The other is a way of thinking (notably represented by Confucius) that puts its hope in a dynamic of mutual responsibility, shaped by role and ritual and informed by imaginative empathy.

The syllabus for this course can be viewed on the course Canvas page, here.

Note: This course is jointly-listed with FAS as ETHRSON 20.

Subject Areas: Legal & Political Theory, Disciplinary Perspectives & Law, International, Comparative & Foreign Law