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Death and the Meaning of Life

Friday, June 30, 2017 to Sunday, July 2, 2017

Time and Location

Friday to Sunday, June 30th - July 2nd, 2017

Yale Center Beijing
8 Jianguomenwai Avenue, 36th Floor, Tower B, IFC Building (Yong’anli Station, Exit C)

Registration and Fees

Regular price: RMB 12,800
Early-bird (payment by May 31st): RMB 9,800
Group (3 or more): RMB 8,800

Click HERE to register.

Please email if you have any questions, or call Yale Center Beijing at (10) 5909 0200.

About the program

Everyone wants to live a meaningful and rewarding life. But is such a life even possible, given the fact that we will all eventually die? If it is, what exactly makes a life worth living? In this program we will undertake a philosophical examination of these questions, asking about the significance of death, and what is really worth having in life. We will explore the nature of happiness, focusing on several possible elements of a good life—including love and friendship, accomplishment, and honesty. We will ask whether death can really be bad for us, whether suicide can ever be appropriate, and whether it even makes sense to talk about the meaning of life at all.

Many people never get the chance to reflect systematically on questions like these. We’ll do so in a seminar-like atmosphere, where participants share their views with one another, and critically examine the choices we make in life.

Program Modules

-   Happiness and the Experience Machine
-   The Evil of Death
-   Love and Friendship
-   Career and Achievement
-   Having Children
-   Extending Life
-   The Importance of Honesty
-   The Rationality and Morality of Suicide
-   The Meaning of Life


Friday (June 30)

06:00 pm - 07:00 pm    Dinner
07:00 pm - 08:30 pm    Session 1.  Happiness and the Experience Machine

Saturday (July 1)

09:00 am - 10:30 am    Session 2.  The Evil of Death
10:45 am - 12:15 pm    Session 3.  Love and Friendship
12:15 pm - 01:45 pm     Lunch
01:45 pm - 03:15 pm    Session 4.  Career and Achievement
03:30 pm - 05:00 pm    Session 5.  Having Children

Sunday (July 2)

09:00 am - 10:30 am    Session 6.  Extending Life
10:45 am - 12:15 pm    Session 7.   The Importance of Honesty
12:15 pm - 01:45 pm     Lunch
01:45 pm - 03:15 pm    Session 8.  The Rationality and Morality of Suicide
03:30 pm - 05:00 pm    Session 9.  The Meaning of Life
05:00 pm - 06:30 pm    Award of Certificate Ceremony, Group Photo, Cocktail Reception


The language of the program will be English, with Chinese simultaneous interpretation provided throughout the program.

The Speaker

Shelly Kagan
Clark Professor of Philosophy, Yale Philosophy Department

Public Event