The Chinese Pleasure Book
In The Chinese Pleasure Book (Zone, 2018), Michael Nylan (History) takes up one of the most important themes in Chinese thought: the relation of pleasurable activities to bodily health and the health of the body politic. In notable contrast to Western writings on the subject, early Chinese writings oppose pleasure not with pain but with insecurity. The authors Nylan examines assume that it is right and proper to seek and take pleasure — and that when compared to short-term delights, long-term pleasures are more easily sustained and potentially more satisfying. The pleasures that Nylan explores include friendship and music, sharing with others, developing integrity and greater clarity, reading and classical learning, and going home.
Nylan is joined by Hans Sluga (Philosophy). After a brief discussion of the book, they open the floor for discussion.