In Beijing, Shelly Kagan teaches about death and the meaning of life

Over the past years, Yale philosopher Shelly Kagan’s online course on death has garnered nearly 30 million views in China. In July, he taught a weekend workshop at Yale Center Beijing (YCB) on “Death and the Meaning of Life” to over 50 Chinese executives (including the president of SOHO China), professionals, students, and others.

The class offered me a unique opportunity: to teach my material in a classroom setting with a very different audience from my usual Yale undergraduates,” said Kagan. “There were high school and college students but also businesspeople, artists, scientists, lawyers, and family members, all taking the class together. It made for lively discussions and provided an unusual change for me to discuss philosophical ideas with people who didn’t always share my Western outlook. A wonderful experience. And the staff at YCB, who made it all possible, couldn’t have been friendlier or more professional.”