The Path to Happiness: What Chinese Philosophy Teaches us about the Good Life
Challenge your assumptions about happiness
Join Harvard professor Michael Puett to explore ancient Chinese philosophy to challenge assumptions of what it means to be happy and live a meaningful life.
1-2 hours a week
What You'll Learn
Today, finding happiness is about mindfulness and discovering your true self. You may have heard that happiness is found by looking within. Ancient Chinese philosophy challenges all of these modern assumptions. From Confucianism to Daoism, the philosophies developed over two thousand years ago are among the most powerful in human history.
This course brings voices from the past into modern contexts to explore the path to a good life today. The philosophical concepts discussed provide tools to change your life and increase personal happiness by focusing on your actions, the power of ritual, and the importance of sensing the world around you.
Through a series of lectures, animations, discussions, and reflection diaries, this course focuses on close readings from prominent Chinese philosophers. The course requires no prior knowledge of Chinese philosophy or history and all texts are in translation.
Adapted from one of the most popular classes at Harvard, this course is now available online for the first time. Learn from award-winning professor Michael Puett and start on your path towards happiness.
The course will be delivered via edX and connect learners around the world. By the end of the course, participants will be able to:
- Understanding ancient Chinese philosophy to live a better life
- Tools for self-awareness, the power of ritual, and sensing the world around you
- How personal actions and counteractions change the world
- The philosophical theories of Confucius, Mozi, Mencius, Laozi, Zhuangzi, Xunzi, and Han Feizi
Michael Puett is the Walter C. Klein Professor of Chinese History and Chair of the Committee on the Study of Religion. He holds a joint appointment in the EALC and Anthropology departments. He is also a non-resident long-term fellow for programs in anthropological and historical sciences and the languages and civilizations of East Asia at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, Uppsala. Puett joined the Harvard faculty in 1994 after earning his M.A. (1987) and Ph.D. (1994) from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago.
Ways to take this course
When you enroll in this course, you will have the option of pursuing a Verified Certificate or Auditing the Course.
A Verified Certificate costs $149 and provides unlimited access to full course materials, activities, tests, and forums. At the end of the course, learners who earn a passing grade can receive a certificate.
Alternatively, learners can Audit the course for free and have access to select course material, activities, tests, and forums. Please note that this track does not offer a certificate for learners who earn a passing grade.