Studying Philosophy or Religion? Two articles you should read and share today

Religious Studies textbooks

As winter break wraps up and spring semester starts at colleges and universities across the country, more than a few students out there will be reconsidering their choice of majors, or at least dabbling in fun and interesting classes outside their department. While a number of classes may come highly recommended, two courses that really must be taken by any student today are an Introduction to World Religions and an introductory Philosophy course, which come under many names:"World … [Read more...]

Does the “arc of the moral universe” bend toward justice?

Ryan Bell interviews Michael Shermer on the Moral Arc

As we pause on this day to reflect on the life and vision of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. it's easy to throw our hands up and admit defeat. Black men and boys are being killed by their neighbors and police with impunity, Muslims in the West face increasing scrutiny and bigotry, governments continue to ignore the wrongs of their nations past - and present - toward indigenous peoples, the latest boom in the economy seems to be just numbers on a screen for most Americans as 95% of recent income … [Read more...]

Superscholar.org introduces an Infographic on Eastern Philosophy

history of eastern philosophy

Hmm... I almost put up scare quotes around 'Eastern Philosophy' - but then I thought I'd just put them up around 'Eastern' - and then just around 'Philosophy' - but perhaps each, separately, needed its own scare quotes. Then again, what exactly is an 'infographic'?Scare quotes and worries about definitions aside (do some research and decide for yourself what these words mean), I was sent this the other day and found it interesting and useful enough to warrant sharing. As an educator I think … [Read more...]

Notes on teaching Buddhist philosophy

buddha with plato and aristotle at the academy

I'm teaching Buddhist philosophy in Bodhgaya, India at the moment, so much of my blogging-life is taken up by activities here. In lieu of all of that (I will post on my usual topics now and then) I thought I'd share notes from my teaching.Teaching Buddhist philosophy to American college students from diverse backgrounds (some with extensive philosophy, some with Buddhism, some with a mix or neither) has been a challenge. To start, I wanted to get them thinking as philosophers, inheritors of … [Read more...]

Buddhism and Modern Psychology : week four – “What is the *you*, anyway?”

Buddhism and Modern Psychology - week 4

I have slipped a bit further behind this week, I'm afraid, and with some upcoming writing and travel commitments upon me the slide will likely continue.In week four Prof. Wright covered a fair amount of ground in psychology, discussing modular theories of the mind. The modular theory is based on questions about how we make decisions, how variations in our environment might change those decisions, and how we (in both 1st and 3rd person) understand that decision making process.He … [Read more...]

Coursera’s Buddhism and Modern Psychology : week three

Buddhism and Modern Psychology - week 3

I'm a bit later than usual posting on week 3 (week 4 lectures have just been posted). Such is life. Part of the reason is that the topic this week was "not-self"(anātman in Sanskrit, anattā in Pāli) in Buddhism and in Modern Psychology, which I am not terribly interested in writing more about at this time.I've written extensively about the topic here, here (on metaphysics),here (comparing with Sartre), and here; along with guest posts at Danny Fisher's blog and (around the topic of purific … [Read more...]

Coursera’s Buddhism and Modern Psychology : week two

Buddhism and Modern Psychology - week 2

It has been a busy week here, with a trip to Cheltenham to lead metta meditation for students in Dave Webster's course on Buddhism and a journey to London to see Professor Ian Harris talk on Buddhism and Politics at Kings College. So I haven't been able to write as detailed a post on week two of the Buddhism and Modern Psychology course as I wrote for week one.This week's lecture looked at "The Buddhist Prescription" - focusing on the 3rd and 4th Noble Truths and meditation in particular. As … [Read more...]

Stephen Batchelor and Ven Brahmali debate in Melbourne 2014 – Pick your winner

still image from the video above

You can now watch this debate between the famous "Secular Buddhist" Stephen Batchelor and Ajahn Brahmali, of the Thai Theravadin tradition from earlier this month.I'd be very interested in hearing your thoughts (Jayarava, Mufi, Doug Smith, Ted Meissner - and the whole 'Secular Buddhist' crowd, US and UK - Nathan Thompson, and others who have discussed this intersection of 'the world' / seculum according to Batchelor and Buddhism).As debates go, it was highly collegial. They agree on far … [Read more...]


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