Love and Other Emotions in Ancient China

What are emotions? Are they innate and universal, or do they vary across time, societies, and languages? How do humans express and describe emotions? How should individuals and societies relate to the experience and expression of emotions? Such questions sparked an animated debate among early Chinese thinkers (5th c. BCE–220 CE), a debate we will continue in this course. We begin by surveying ancient and modern theories of emotion. The subsequent unit turns to the representations of different emotions in early Chinese literature and philosophical writings, where we explore whether our experiences of love, joy, and grief are comparable across ancient and modern contexts. In the final unit, we evaluate different philosophical proposals—from Confucian, Daoist, and Legalist lineages—for how to cultivate and regulate emotions.

Units: 1

Max Enrollment: 30

Prerequisites: None.

Instructor: Du

Distribution Requirements: EC - Epistemology and Cognition

Typical Periods Offered: Every other year

Semesters Offered this Academic Year: Not Offered