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Beginning in August of 1999, I gave a series of eight lectures on “The Pursuit of Happiness: Philosophies East and West,” dealing with different conceptions of the good life.
The syllabus was:
- Harmony, Inner and Outer (Plato, Lao Tzu)
- Self-Actualization (Montaigne, Nietzsche)
- Detachment (Epictetus, the Buddha)
- Duty (Confucius, Kant, Montaigne)
- Pleasure (Callicles, Epicurus)
- The Conquest of Nature (Ayn Rand)
- The Spiritual Life (William James)
The first half of the lecture of pleasure deals with the argument between Socrates and Callicles, a hedonist, in Plato’s Gorgias. The edition I used is Plato, Gorgias , trans. and ed. James H. Nichols, Jr. (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998). As usual, the sound quality is clear but rather harsh due to the necessity of heavy noise reduction.