Course description

What is a good life? How does it relate to personal happiness, or to being a good ruler, citizen, friend, or lover? What is the relative value of justice, citizenship, loyalty, friendship, personal profit, and pleasure? How do we make reasoned choices when these values are in conflict? What are our sources and models for such reasoning? When is such reasoning ethical? Are we all subject to the same ethical norms? Should we be? Is the good life the same for everyone? Questions such as these were of enduring concern for philosophers, political theorists, literary theorists, and theorists of pleasure in classical India. This course is devoted to investigating how classical South Asian intellectuals wrestled with such questions and to thinking critically about their responses to them in the context of our own lives. For complete and current details about this Harvard Extension course, see the description in the DCE Course Search.


  • Professor of Religion and Indian Philosophy, Harvard University
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