This experience is optimized for Internet Explorer version 9 and above.

Please upgrade your browser

Video title

Priority Code

Cancel
Great Minds of the Eastern Intellectual Tradition

Great Minds of the Eastern Intellectual Tradition

Professor Grant Hardy Ph.D.
University of North Carolina, Asheville
Course No.  4620
Course No.  4620
Share:
Video or Audio?
While this set works well in both audio and video format, one or more of the courses in this set feature graphics to enhance your learning experience, including illustrations, images of people and event, and on-screen text.
Which Format Should I Choose? Video Download Audio Download DVD CD
Watch or listen immediately with FREE streaming
Available on most courses
Stream using apps on your iPad, iPhone, Android, or Kindle Fire
Available on most courses
Stream to your internet connected PC or laptop
Available on most courses
Download files for offline viewing or listening
Receive DVDs or CDs for your library
Play as many times as you want
All formats include Free Streaming
All formats include Free Streaming

Course Overview

About This Course

36 lectures  |  31 minutes per lecture

Western philosophy is a vast intellectual tradition, the product of thousands of years of revolutionary thought built up by a rich collection of brilliant minds. When most of us study philosophy, we're focusing only on the Western intellectual tradition brought about by people such as Aristotle, Descartes, and Nietzsche. But to understand the Western intellectual tradition is to only get half of the story.

Just as important, and just as valid a contribution to philosophy, is the Eastern intellectual tradition. Eastern philosophy is also the product of thousands of years of thought and was also built up by a distinct group of brilliant thinkers. Among these are

View More

Western philosophy is a vast intellectual tradition, the product of thousands of years of revolutionary thought built up by a rich collection of brilliant minds. When most of us study philosophy, we're focusing only on the Western intellectual tradition brought about by people such as Aristotle, Descartes, and Nietzsche. But to understand the Western intellectual tradition is to only get half of the story.

Just as important, and just as valid a contribution to philosophy, is the Eastern intellectual tradition. Eastern philosophy is also the product of thousands of years of thought and was also built up by a distinct group of brilliant thinkers. Among these are

  • the Buddha,
  • Confucius,
  • Gandhi, and
  • Zarathustra.

Their ideas demonstrate fascinating, wholly different ways of approaching, understanding, and solving the same fundamental questions that concerned the West's greatest thinkers, such as

  • the existence of God,
  • the meaning of life,
  • the nature of truth and reality,
  • the organization of government and society,
  • the significance of suffering, and
  • the roots of a well-lived life.

To explore Eastern perspectives on these issues is to embark on an illuminating journey into the heart of grand, but often unfamiliar, civilizations. It's also a thought-provoking way to understand the surprising connections and differences between East and West, and to strengthen your knowledge of cultures that play increasingly important roles in our globalized 21st-century world.

Great Minds of the Eastern Intellectual Tradition is an epic, comprehensive survey of the East's most influential philosophers and thinkers. In 36 lectures, award-winning Professor Grant Hardy of the University of North Carolina at Asheville introduces you to the men and women responsible for molding Asian philosophy and for giving birth to a wide variety of spiritual and ideological systems, including Hinduism, Daoism, Confucianism, Sufism, and Buddhism. By focusing on these key thinkers in their historical contexts, you'll witness the development of these rich traditions as they shaped and defined Eastern cultures through the rise and fall of empires, the friendly and hostile encounters with each other and with the Western world, and the rapid advancements of the modern age.

Eastern Philosophy Made Clear

When compared with the West, Eastern philosophical thought is much more inextricably linked with spiritual concepts and beliefs. To help you make sense of the unfamiliar nature of Eastern philosophy and its strong ties with spirituality, Professor Hardy has organized this course into four basic parts.

  • Part One traces the origins of Eastern philosophy in the cosmological and theological views that arose in India and China beginning around 1200 B.C., including Buddhism, Jainism, Confucianism, and Daoism.
  • Part Two explores the famous developers of legalism, Mahayana and Chinese Buddhism, yoga, and other intellectual schools that emerged during the age of early Eastern empires and built on the foundations of the past.
  • Part Three focuses on the great thinkers who flourished starting in the early 12th century, many of whose schools of thought—including Sikhism, Vedanta Hinduism, and Neo-Confucianism—revolutionized cultural notions of society, aesthetics, and faith.
  • Part Four delves into the modern era, when the convergence of East and West spurred the development of philosophical beliefs that became even more politicized and blended with independence movements and that reacted to ideologies such as Communism and capitalism.

In most lectures, Professor Hardy focuses on two key individuals, often taking a comparative approach to their lives, their views, and their legacies on various schools of thought. The result is a learning experience that makes a seemingly intimidating stretch of time and a diverse cast of characters approachable and understandable.

Throughout your chronological journey, you'll spend a majority of time among the three major countries that form the core of the Eastern intellectual tradition, exploring their unique philosophical themes and spiritual paths.

  • India: The concepts of reincarnation, cosmic justice, and liberation; a focus on logical analysis and direct insight (often achieved through yoga or meditation); the union of religion and politics; and more.
  • China: A constant appeal to the past in guiding the present; practical views that highlight harmony, balance, and social order; a keen appreciation of the cycles of nature; a form of politics that balances legal constraints with personal ethics; and more.
  • Japan: The adaptation and transformation of Confucianism; a distinct philosophy of aesthetics; a focus on group identity and consensus; an openness to adaptation from the Western world; and more.

You'll also travel to places like Korea, Tibet, and Iran, exploring their own contributions to the East's grand philosophical dialogue.

Meet Familiar—and Unfamiliar—Geniuses

So who exactly are the greatest minds in Eastern philosophical thought?

While there are probably too many to count, Professor Hardy focuses on several dozen major figures who have had the greatest impact on Asian intellectual history, and whose influence has often extended beyond cultural borders.

"I am confident that the great minds who have been included in this course will give you a basic understanding of Asian intellectual history and a good foundation for further studies," he says.

Among the many sages, mystics, poets, revolutionaries, critics, novelists, politicians, and scientists you encounter in Great Minds of the Eastern Intellectual Tradition are some you may have heard of before but have never gotten an in-depth introduction to.

  • Zarathustra: This ancient Persian priest was the father of Zoroastrianism, a belief system that spread throughout the near East and parts of the West. Zarathustra's greatest insight was that the universe is characterized by dualism, with good and evil locked in a cosmic conflict in which individuals must choose one side or the other.
  • The Buddha: Born Siddhartha Gautama around 563 B.C., the Buddha achieved a profound state of enlightenment after meditating under a bodhi tree. Although he retained classical ideas from Hinduism, he sharply differed from it when he taught that nothing has a soul and that any grasping at permanence ends in suffering and failure.
  • Confucius: A contemporary of the Buddha, Confucius is the most significant philosopher in Chinese history. He developed a program for lifelong moral growth that would influence the culture for more than a thousand years. Confucius saw the answer to the increased violence and lawlessness of his society as rooted in the social standards of sages, not revelation.
  • Gandhi: Best known for the concept of satyagraha (nonviolent resistance), this Indian independence fighter changed his philosophical ideas over time in response to particular situations. His overarching goal, however, was a more humane way of life based on self-government, self-sufficiency, and a deep connection to one's community.

Many of the great minds in this course will undoubtedly be new to you, but despite their unfamiliarity, you'll learn that their lives and views held just as profound an influence on the course of Eastern philosophy and history. Four of the many figures you'll come face to face with are

  • Ashoka, the Indian ruler and Buddhist convert whose role in the spread of Buddhism is similar to that of Emperor Constantine's in Christianity;
  • Prince Shotoku, one of the most admired individuals in Japan and author of a 17-article constitution that, unlike the U.S. Constitution, was a list of moral injunctions on leadership;
  • Patanjali, the Indian philosopher who developed yoga as a means not for stress reduction or flexibility but for people to escape life's suffering and achieve spiritual liberation; and
  • Nanak, a contemporary of Martin Luther who became the first Sikh guru and taught that salvation comes when the soul, after cycles of reincarnation, is finally united with the One God.

A Powerful Gateway into Eastern Thought

Professor Hardy is renowned for his expertise on Eastern culture and his passionate teaching skills. The University of North Carolina at Asheville honored him with its distinguished Teacher Award for the Arts and Humanities Faculty, and named him to a prestigious Ruth and Leon Feldman Professorship. Whether he's describing the tiniest evolutionary change in Japanese philosophical schools, unearthing the hidden pearls of wisdom in ancient Chinese koans and poems, or breaking down the complexities of the Hindu pantheon, Professor Hardy is an authoritative guide who will no doubt intrigue and enlighten you.

Often regarded as impenetrable, Eastern philosophy is surprisingly more accessible (and sometimes more familiar) than you may have imagined. And Great Minds of the Eastern Intellectual Tradition is a powerful gateway into a unique collection of customs, ideas, beliefs, and attitudes—and the brilliant individuals responsible for them.

View Less
36 Lectures
  • 1
    Life's Great Questions—Asian Perspectives
    Professor Hardy introduces you to this survey of Eastern philosophy's great minds and ideas. After providing a road map for the course, he answers two questions that demand to be asked: What does the Eastern intellectual tradition look like? Why does it matter to those of us in the West? x
  • 2
    The Vedas and Upanishads—The Beginning
    Witness how the Eastern intellectual tradition began in India with two anonymous writings: the Vedas and the Upanishads. The former contains the East's earliest thoughts on social conventions (specifically the Indo-Aryan caste system), while the latter sees thinkers truly starting to struggle with basic questions about existence and knowledge. x
  • 3
    Mahavira and Jainism—Extreme Nonviolence
    Jainism developed as a rejection of the authority of the Vedas and Brahmin priests. Investigate the views of its founder, Mahavira; delve into Jainism's central tenets and ideas; and listen to two ancient stories that illustrate the pervasiveness of suffering in the world and the theory of multiple truths. x
  • 4
    The Buddha—The Middle Way
    Buddhism, like Jainism, grew as another of India's major heterodox schools of thought. Get an overview of this philosophical and spiritual school by exploring the Buddha's life story, Buddhism's basic principles (including the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path), the daily practices of Buddhists, and more. x
  • 5
    The Bhagavad Gita—The Way of Action
    Written partly in response to challenges posed by Buddhism, the Bhagavad Gita is one of the most important writings in Eastern intellectual history. Comb through this landmark text's pages, paying particular attention to its historical context and its emphasis on karma yoga, or acting without attachment to success or failure. x
  • 6
    Confucius—In Praise of Sage-Kings
    Focus now on China and the ideas of its first philosopher, Confucius. What was life like during the "age of Confucius"? What are the key ideas and lessons to take away from the Analects, which collect his various sayings? How does Confucianism work for a society? A family? An individual? x
  • 7
    Laozi and Daoism—The Way of Nature
    Examine Daoism, the second of China's major philosophies, cultivated by a legendary figure known as Laozi. This school's central text, the Daodejing, offers unique solutions to the problems of social disorder and violence and provides rulers and individuals with practical advice that prefers simplicity and humility over power and ambition. x
  • 8
    The Hundred Schools of Pre-imperial China
    The Warring States Era (475–221 B.C.) was a golden age in Chinese philosophy. Meet three great minds from this period: Mozi, whose ideas centered on "universal love"; Huizi, who explored the relativity of time and space; and Zhuangzi, who argued for a radical skepticism that refused to choose between contradictory positions. x
  • 9
    Mencius and Xunzi—Confucius's Successors
    Mencius and Xunzi, both followers of Confucius, are likened to the ancient Greek thinkers Plato and Aristotle (who learned from Socrates). Both Chinese philosophers accepted the main precepts of Confucianism, but disagreed on several issues. Compare their views on morality, the existence of evil, the principles of economics, and more. x
  • 10
    Sunzi and Han Feizi—Strategy and Legalism
    Sunzi was a Chinese philosopher best known for The Art of War, which promoted the merits of strategic, deceptive warfare. Han Feizi epitomized legalism, the philosophical school aimed at strengthening the state through rational means. Both thinkers—and their roles in the Eastern intellectual tradition—are the subject of this illuminating lecture. x
  • 11
    Zarathustra and Mani—Dualistic Religion
    Follow the lives and teachings of two ancient Persian minds. Zarathustra's faith, Zoroastrianism, posited a universe in which the forces of good and evil were locked in combat. Mani later expanded on this dualistic notion to develop Manichaeism, in which this struggle represented the larger battle between spirit and matter. x
  • 12
    Kautilya and Ashoka—Buddhism and Empire
    Go back to India during the time of Mauryan Empire (322–185 B.C.) and encounter two of its most renowned political thinkers: Kautilya, who sought to combine ethics with political pragmatism, and Ashoka, the Buddhist convert who desired to govern with compassion. How did their intriguing ideas define India—then and now? x
  • 13
    Ishvarakrishna and Patanjali—Yoga
    The yoga commonly practiced in the West stems from the ideas of Ishvarakrishna and Pantajali. Learn how the former developed the metaphysical theories of matter and spirit behind yoga, while the latter cultivated the physical and mental disciplines designed to yoke the body and mind toward spiritual liberation. x
  • 14
    Nagarjuna and Vasubandhu—Buddhist Theories
    Although the Buddha discouraged philosophy, some of his disciples nevertheless began exploring philosophical questions. The result was the birth of Mahayana Buddhism. Here, get a pointed introduction to two major figures in its development and refinement—Nagarjuna and Vasubandhu—and their views on reality, existence, truth, and consciousness. x
  • 15
    Sima Qian and Ban Zhao—History and Women
    First, pore over the pages of Sima Qian's Shiji (The Grand Scribe's Records), which offered a comprehensive history of the world that profoundly influenced China's cultural identity. Then, meet Ban Zhao, the first great female mind of Eastern philosophy and an insightful commentator on the complex relationships between men and women. x
  • 16
    Dong Zhongshu and Ge Hong—Eclecticism
    Witness the continued evolution of Confucianism and Daoism through the lens of two great Eastern thinkers. The first is Dong Zhongshu, who combined traditional Confucian moralism with cosmological speculations rooted in nature. The second is Ge Hong, China's most famous alchemist who reconciled several strands of Neo-Daoism with Confucianism. x
  • 17
    Xuanzang and Chinese Buddhism
    After the collapse of the Han dynasty in A.D. 220, Buddhism became widely accepted in China. Explore the ideas of the four major schools of Chinese Buddhism: Tiantai, Huayan (Flower Garland), Pure Land, and Chan (Zen). Also, meet the most important mind behind Buddhism's spread, the monk and translator Xuanzang. x
  • 18
    Prince Shotoku, Lady Murasaki, Sei Shonagon
    Shift now to Japan, which merged Chinese philosophical ideas with Japanese traditions. Professor Hardy introduces you to three early intellectuals and their works: Prince Shotoku and his 17-article constitution; Murasaki Shikibu and her psychological novel, the Tale of Genji; and Se Shonagon and her commentary on court life, the Pillow Book. x
  • 19
    Saicho to Nichiren—Japanese Buddhism
    Take a closer look at the development of Buddhism in Japan. Among the early Buddhist thinkers you encounter in this lecture are Saicho, founder of Japan's foremost Buddhist temple; Honen, who established Japan's Pure Land sect; and Nichiren, whose form of Buddhism is one of the most prominent in modern Japan. x
  • 20
    Shankara, Ramanuja, Madhva—Hindu Vedanta
    Why is the Vedanta school of Hinduism the most important and influential of the six orthodox darshanas? How did three great Indian philosophers—Shankara, Ramanuja, and Madhva—bring order to the confusing teachings of the Upanishads? How did they each conceive the critical relationship between self (Atman) and absolute reality (Brahman)? x
  • 21
    Al-Biruni—Islam in India
    One fascinating aspect of the Eastern intellectual tradition is the intricate relationship between Hinduism and Islam. After a brief overview of Islam and its arrival in India, delve into some of the vast intellectual accomplishments of Al-Biruni, whom Professor Hardy considers one of the greatest minds in world history. x
  • 22
    Nanak and Sirhindi—Sikhism and Sufism
    Conclude your look at the connections between Hinduism and Islam with this exploration of how thinkers tried to find a balance between the two faiths. Guru Nanak founded Sikhism as a religious tradition that was neither Hindu nor Muslim. Ahmad Sirhindi, a Sufi master, worked to establish clear philosophical boundaries between Hinduism and Islam. x
  • 23
    Han Yu to Zhu Xi—Neo-Confucianism
    Follow the rise of a new major system of Eastern thought: Neo-Confucianism, a philosophy concerned more with ethics than with the soul. Some great early Neo-Confucians you meet include Han Yu (who revived an interest in Confucian ideas) and Zhu Xi, who answered Buddhist questions about metaphysics with Confucian insights. x
  • 24
    Wang Yangming—The Study of Heart-Mind
    Neo-Confucianism is a supremely practical philosophy, according to Professor Hardy. Find out why in his lecture on how intellectuals such as Zhu Xi and Wang Yangming applied the principles of Neo-Confucianism to education and knowledge—specifically through China's iconic imperial examination system, which lasted from the 7th century until 1905. x
  • 25
    Dogen and Hakuin—Zen Buddhism
    Zen Buddhism, which teaches that meditation under the guidance of an enlightened master is the only way to liberation, is the most famous form of Japanese Buddhism. Investigate this philosophy through two Zen masters: Dogen, of the Soto school of gradual enlightenment, and Hakuin, from the Rinzai school of sudden enlightenment. x
  • 26
    Zeami and Sen no Rikyu—Japanese Aesthetics
    Noh drama and the tea ceremony are indebted to Confucian rituals and Buddhist ideals. Learn how the great Noh playwright Zeami and the teamaster Sen no Rikyu epitomize medieval Japanese aesthetics and their emphasis on yugen (profound emotion), wabi (feelings of age and obscurity), and sabi (feelings of simplicity and tranquility). x
  • 27
    Wonhyo to King Sejong—Korean Philosophy
    Focus here on Korean philosophy and three of its greatest proponents. They are Wonhyo, who popularized Buddhism throughout the country; Chinul, who tried to bridge the divide between the doctrinal and meditation schools of Buddhism; and Sejong the Great, who invented one of the most scientific, rational scripts ever devised. x
  • 28
    Padmasambhava to Tsongkhapa—Tibetan Ideas
    Philosophy and religion are nowhere more connected than in Tibet, whose Vajrayana school of Buddhism emphasizes secret rituals and meditative practices. Examine key minds, including the man who introduced Buddhism to Tibet (Padmasambhava), a mystic who felt Enlightenment must be experienced directly (Milarepa), and the fascinating figure of the Dalai Lama. x
  • 29
    Science and Technology in Premodern Asia
    Discover how science and technology form a part of the Eastern intellectual tradition through the discoveries, theories, and insights of people such as Aryabhata (from India) and Shen Gua (from China). Also, ponder the question of why the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions occurred in Europe and not in Asia. x
  • 30
    Muhammad Iqbal and Rabindranath Tagore
    There were many ways that Asian thinkers confronted the technological superiority of Western civilization. See how the views of Pakistan's chief poet and philosopher Muhammad Iqbal and India's Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore held on to respective Islamic and Hindu traditions while accommodating them to the strengthening presence of the West. x
  • 31
    Mohandas Gandhi—Satyagraha, or Soul-Force
    Mohandas Gandhi is rightfully one of the most well-known Asian philosophers. What are the historical roots of some of his ideas, especially that of nonviolent resistance (satyagraha)? Why were some of his critiques of the West and modernity so controversial? What was the relationship between his ascetic lifestyle and his thought? x
  • 32
    Fukuzawa Yukichi and Han Yongun
    After a brief look at Japanese and Korean history between the 19th and 20th centuries, explore the intriguing perspectives of the Westernizer Fukuzawa Yukichi and the traditionalist Han Yongun. The former stressed the development of an independent-minded middle class; the latter sought answers to contemporary crises in Buddhist tenets. x
  • 33
    Kang Youwei and Hu Shi
    Of all the nations in Asia, China had the most difficult transition to the modern era. Delve into Chinese reform through Kang Youwei, who argued for the persistence of Confucian attitudes in the face of Western individualism, and Hu Shi, whose championing of vernacular Chinese allowed intellectuals to escape the strangleholds of the past. x
  • 34
    Sun Yat-sen and Mao Zedong
    Come face to face with two pivotal figures in recent Chinese history. Sun Yat-sen is considered the father of Chinese nationalism and energized the people with his ideas. Mao Zedong, one of modern history's most infamous figures, is noted for his brutal application of the Communist ideologies of Marx and Lenin. x
  • 35
    Modern Legacies
    In the first of two final lectures on the modern legacies of Eastern philosophy, Professor Hardy takes a look back at vital lessons from India's and China's great minds and recaps the enduring themes on fundamental human issues that form the core of their rich intellectual traditions. x
  • 36
    East and West
    Continue examining themes from Chinese and Japanese philosophy. Then, conclude the course with a revealing discussion of a question you may have asked at the start of these lectures: What does this have to do with my life? The answer will open your eyes to the enduring importance of the East's great minds. x

Lecture Titles

Clone Content from Your Professor tab

Your professor

Grant Hardy
Ph.D. Grant Hardy
University of North Carolina, Asheville
Dr. Grant Hardy is Professor of History and Religious Studies and Director of the Humanities Program at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. He earned his B.A. in Ancient Greek from Brigham Young University and his Ph.D. in Chinese Language and Literature from Yale University. Professor Hardy has received a wealth of awards and accolades for both his teaching and his scholarship. At the University of North Carolina, he won the 2002 Distinguished Teacher Award for the Arts and Humanities Faculty, and he was named to a Ruth and Leon Feldman Professorship for 2009 to 2010. He also received a research grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and he participated in scholarly symposia at prestigious universities around the world, including Harvard University and the University of Heidelberg. Professor Hardy has written, cowritten, or edited six books, including Worlds of Bronze and Bamboo: Sima Qian's Conquest of History; The Establishment of the Han Empire and Imperial China; and the first volume of the Oxford History of Historical Writing. In addition, he has written or revised a majority of the articles on imperial China for the World Book Encyclopedia.
View More information About This Professor
Also By This Professor
View All Courses By This Professor

Reviews

Rated 4.4 out of 5 by 41 reviewers.
Rated 5 out of 5 by A Great Overview I enjoyed this course so much that I've listened twice, the second time taking detailed notes. I was already pretty familiar with the material before starting the course, but still learned a lot. This course does a great job of explaining difficult concepts and putting them in a larger perspective. You get the forest, as well as the trees. Dr. Hardy is an outstanding lecturer. He obviously loved teaching this course. I took it in audio-only format, and could tell just by listening to his voice that he was genuinely happy to be at the podium. Indeed it is a very student-centric course, that felt more like a live conversation than a series of lectures. He includes a lot of down-to-earth examples and analogies - many that I had not thought of before - that make the ideas understandable and interesting. I also liked his non-judgmental approach to the material. Things like Buddhist metaphysics, Daoist mysticism, and Confucian patriarchy can seem pretty odd to those of us in the West, but they seemed a lot less odd after encountering Dr. Hardy's thoughts about them. This is a truly delightful course, one of the best in the catalogue. September 26, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by Worth the challenge The content of the course has already been covered by other reviews, so I am going to stick to impressions and advice. The amount of detail in this course was just right for my level of interest, including the effort required to listen again, read the course guide, and seek supplementary material, but many people only want an idea of the big picture. I think they can get that perfectly well by breezing through, and I think they will be entertained by the way it is presented. I sometimes listen to lectures while walking or doing jigsaw puzzles or housework. Listening on my iPod, I had nothing written to look at, and when I looked at the lecture titles or course guide later, I had no audio memory to attach to the written names of Chinese scholars . (Some of this is owing to the drastic changes in Chinese spelling.) Now I realize I am one who needs to visualize the written name (easily done for Indian and Japanese names) in order to remember it. In later lectures he will bring up some of these people to compare and contrast, so if you have an audio/visual memory and are not otherwise looking at the names, I advise you to print out the lecture titles and consult them during each lecture so you can connect the written with the spoken name and thus remember it later. At least he usually says the names early in the lecture, so I didn't have to spend a lot of time retro-learning. Professor Hardy is engaging and understandable, neither boring nor overly emphatic. He seems nicely humble for a top prof and to be highly focused on organizing the material and highly focused on the students, trying to understand where we are, which parts are difficult, and how we will react. I feel he is happy to be sharing this material and grateful for our interest. He made an effort to show why it matters to us and certainly encouraged me to keep learning more. July 30, 2014
Rated 1 out of 5 by 19th Century Course In the 18th and 19th century Western scholars (mostly Christian missionaries) provided the West with its first glimpse of Eastern philosophical thought and practice. As valuable as these contributions were, for the most part they completely missed the essence of the Eastern approach because they could not get beyond their Western cultural background. Beginning in the 1960's authentic Eastern teachers came to the Unites States and serious students traveled to the East. We now have a much deeper understanding of what the East has to offer. Deep insight into Eastern thought is now widely available as well as authentic teachers. Prof Hardy evidently has chosen not to access any of the current literature nor sought out a real teacher. (Actually, these teachers are numerous in Asheville.) His view of Eastern thought is presented though a Western (Christian?) lens. It is utterly distorted, condescending, and out right misleading. It is squarely inline with discredited 19th Century thought. I have purchased a couple of other Great Courses on Eastern thought. They well very well done, relying on current scholarship and practice. However, after sitting through this course, I resolved not to buy any more courses, if they are not going to exercise any quality control on content. November 17, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5 by the beginning of a whole new curriculum? “great minds” is a great idea, and hopefully it’s a sign that the teaching company intends to complement its excellent western curriculum with learning from all over the world. this course takes the intellectual history of three great nations and distills it into digestible bites. the professor is likeable and non-threatening, which is exactly what you want when covering so much potentially unfamiliar material. and although his scholarship is solid throughout, the lectures often feel less like you’re in a philosophy classroom and more like you’re at the dinner table chatting with a friend. now this is an introductory course for non-specialists, and so if you’re already familiar with any of these thinkers you’ll find those lectures to be quite basic. they are however factually solid, unlike the very loose explanations one often gets in tv documentaries. and even if you’ve heard of some of these thinkers, very few of us are likely to have heard of all of them, and every single one is worth meeting. nonetheless be prepared to meet a lot of great minds—over 70 in all. i was already familiar with many of them and took this course in order to fill in the blanks, but i was still surprised by how many names i had completely forgotten by the time i reached the end. if you’re coming to this subject green, definitely take your time and make sure you feel comfortable with each new thinker before you move on to the next. of course the core issue with any survey is that just as you’re getting into one subject you suddenly have to switch to something else. and in this case you’re not just moving on to the next figure in line but you may also be leaping into a completely different culture several centuries later. the professor does a good job of reminding us of connections to earlier thinkers and ideas, but because “eastern” philosophy actually consists of several more or less independent cultural zones there’s inevitably a somewhat disjointed feeling. this was my first exposure to the new guidebooks, and i have mixed feelings. on the one hand they certainly look nicer and they fit properly on the screen of your ipod. on the other hand i found the old outline form to be a very useful way of visualizing the structure of each lecture, and the new paragraph form obliterates that. a bigger problem here is that these particular summaries are painfully brief, and so if you like to use the guidebook to do a thorough review—and in a course like this you’re especially likely to—that won’t really be possible. the new guidebooks aside however, the course as a whole is a very worthwhile investment, and i do hope that we’ll see a steady stream of new courses that flesh out the individuals, texts, and schools of thought that we’ve been introduced to here. July 18, 2013
2 3 next>>

Questions & Answers

Customers Who Bought This Course Also Bought

Some courses include Free digital streaming.

Enjoy instantly on your computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Buy together as a Set
and
Save Up To $695.00
Choose a Set Format
$164.90
$99.90
$199.90
$139.90