Philosophy of Life

Philosophy as the art of living

The object of our journey together is to learn to appreciate philosophy such that we may create art with our way of life. The philosophers have left behind for us a roadmap—how to live the happiest life. Let’s study them and make progress!


The following modules adhere to this model:

  1. Audio: Listening to a review of philosopher’s work in English (preferably while walking; cooking etc also acceptable); these recordings are from Columbia University philosopher & historian William Durant (1885-1981). His eleven volume work on civilization and ten volume work on philosophy guide us through the history of thought. From his analysis (highly enjoyable) we shall pick out original work from the philosophers and learn to use them as a tool for happiness, discipline, and stability. Linked is his complete work on philosophy in English, and in Chinese the and . All of his work has been recorded and posted for free on the public domain. You can access all of his work in english audio form here.
  2. Print: Reading the review of the philosopher’s work in Chinese then in English (the recordings are the same as the readings, if you have trouble accessing YouTube, reach out to my via email and we can get you another version on Dropbox)
  3. Music: Listening to and enjoying the music of the era. This is perhaps the most important part.
  4. Fun Reading: Original works of the philosophers
  5. Discussion and reflection: Working with each other, back and forth with me to create our own art in essays, in music, and in other ways.


One; Voltaire and the French Enlightenment: Candide

  1. Audio: Voltaire and the French Enlightenment
  2. Print: 第五章:伏尔泰和法国的启蒙运动 (attached or can download English & Chinese)
  3. Music: Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750), Joseph Haydn (1732–1809) and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791)
  4. Original Work: Voltaire’s 大鹏怒飞: Micromegas (32 page short story; highly enjoyable on the difference between big and small; relativism)

Two; Montaigne, Seneca, & Marcus Aurelius: The Happy Life and the Tranquility of Mind

  1. Audio: Montaigne, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius
  2. Print: Seneca: On the Shortness of Life
  3. Discussion: Learning to walk with the Stoics, the benefits of discipline; the highest good; the tranquility of mind

Three; The Greeks: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle

  1. Audio: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle
  2. Print: The Apology: Socrates Defense by Plato
  3. Discussion: The marriage of science and philosophy; Socrates as grandfather; Plato as Father; Aristotle as revolutionary

Four; The Germans: Schopenhauer, Kant, Nietzsche: The Critique of Pure Reason

  1. Audio: Schopenhauer, Kant, Nietzsche
  2. Print: The World as Will and Representation by Schopenhauer
  3. Music: Richard Wagner
  4. Discussion: Nietzsche and the messiah effect; the debate between feelings and reason; existentialism

Five; The English: Bacon, Hume, Russell

  1. Audio: Bacon, Hume, Russell
  2. Print: A Treatise of Human Nature by David Hume
  3. Discussion: The critique of pure reason; geography and English identity

By carsonmulligan

Art, horses, samba

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