Mind, Attention, & World Themes in Indian and Buddhist Philosophical Theory @ NYU Events Space 2nd Floor
Apr 25 – Apr 26 all-day

The philosophical traditions of India offer contemporary researchers an unparalleled and mostly untapped resource for fresh thinking about attention, its relations to mind and world. From Nyāya manas-theory to the extensive Buddhist theories about attention’s relationship with consciousness, and from precise taxonomies of the varieties of attention to discussions about the norms governing attention, epistemic, moral, and practical, the wealth and sophistication of Indian analysis is astounding. Our workshop will look at the ways in which Indian, including Buddhist, philosophical theory can enrich contemporary discussion, and there will be presentations by a world-class panel of speakers.

We hope too that this workshop will serve as a catalyst to Indian philosophical studies in the New York area. The workshop is open to everyone, free and without registration, and the program is here.

April 25, 2019|DAY 1 

8:45 am – 9:00 am

Coffee & Welcome  (Jonardon Ganeri NYU)

9:00 am – 10:45 am

Panel 1. Attending to Oneself

Chair: Nic Bommarito (Buffalo)

        9:00 am – 9:50 am

Sharon Street (NYU, via video conferencing)

  “On Recognizing Oneself in Others: A Meditation-Based Response to Mackie’s Argument from Queerness”

        9:55 am – 10:45 am

Muhammad Faruque (Fordham)

“Attending to Oneself: Muḥammad Iqbāl and his Indian Contemporaries”

10:45 am – 11:00 am

   Morning Break

11:00 am – 12:45 pm 

Panel 2. Attention and Affect

Chair: Joerg Tuske (Salisbury)

11:00 am – 11:50am

Evan Thompson (British Columbia)

    “Affect Biased Attention and Concept Formation”

11:55 am – 12:45 pm

Sonam Kachru (Virginia)

    “Attention and Affect: A View from Indian Buddhist Philosophy”

12:45 pm – 2:00 pm

Lunch Break

2:00 pm – 3:45 pm 

Panel 3. Decision and Exclusion

Chair: Emily McRae (New Mexico)

2:00 pm – 2:50 pm

Arindam Chakrabarti (Stonybrook)

     “Deciding to Attend and the Problem of Disjunctive Attention”

2:55 pm – 3:45 pm

Catherine Prueitt (George Mason)

“At the Limits of Pain: Attention, Exclusion, and Self-Knowledge in Pratyabhijñā Śaivism.”

   3:45 pm – 4:00 pm

Afternoon Break

   4:00 pm – 5:45 pm 

Panel 4. The Ethics of Attention

Chair: Eyal Aviv (George Washington)

        4:00 pm – 4:50 pm

   Curie Virag (Edinburgh)

“Attention as Cognitive Resonance”

       4:55 pm – 5:45 pm

   Shalini Sinha (Reading)

   “The Ethics of Attention in Śāntideva and Simone Weil”

April 26, 2019|DAY 2 

10:15 am – 10:30 am


10:30 am – 12:15 pm

Panel 5. Self-Awareness and Attention

Chair: Payal Doctor (LaGuardia)

       10:30 am – 11:20 am

Amit Chaturvedi (Hong Kong)

“Phenomenal Priority and Reflexive Self-Awareness: Watzl meets Yogācāra”

       11:25 am – 12:15 pm

Nilanjan Das  (University College London)

“Śrīharṣa on Self-knowledge and the Inner Sense”

12:15 pm – 1:30 pm

Lunch Break

   1:30 pm – 3:15 pm

Panel 6. Mindfulness and Justification

Chair: Bryce Huebner (Georgetown)

         1:30 pm – 2:20 pm

Georges Dreyfus (Williams)

   “But What is Mindfulness? A Phenomenological Approach”

         2:25 pm – 3:15 pm

Anand Vaidya (San Jose)

    “Attention and Justification”

   3:15 pm – 3:30 pm

Afternoon Break

3:30 pm – 5:15 pm

Panel 7. The Wandering Self

Chair: Adriana Renero (NYU)

         3:30 pm – 4:20 pm

Carolyn Jennings (UC Merced)

    “From Attention to Self”

         4:25 pm – 5:15 pm

Zac Irving (Virginia)

    “Harnessing the Wandering Mind”


Huttegger: Rethinking Convergence to the Truth. Simon Huttegger (UC Irvine) @ Faculty House, Columbia U
Apr 26 @ 4:10 pm

Convergence to the truth is viewed with some ambivalence in philosophy of science. On the one hand, methods of inquiry that lead to the truth in the limit are prized as marks of scientific rationality. But an agent who, by using some method, expects to always converge to the truth seems to fail a minimum standard of epistemic modesty. This point was recently brought home by Gordon Belot in his critique of Bayesian epistemology. In this paper I will study convergence to the truth theorems within the framework of Edward Nelson’s radically elementary probability theory. This theory provides an enriched conceptual framework for investigating convergence and gives rise to an appropriately modest from of Bayesianism.

The seminar is concerned with applying formal methods to fundamental issues, with an emphasis on probabilistic reasoning, decision theory and games. In this context “logic” is broadly interpreted as covering applications that involve formal representations. The topics of interest have been researched within a very broad spectrum of different disciplines, including philosophy (logic and epistemology), statistics, economics, and computer science. The seminar is intended to bring together scholars from different fields of research so as to illuminate problems of common interest from different perspectives. Throughout each academic year, meetings are regularly presented by the members of the seminar and distinguished guest speakers.

details tba

02/08/2019 Faculty House, Columbia University
4:00 PM

03/22/2019 Faculty House, Columbia University
4:00 PM

04/19/2018 Faculty House, Columbia University
4:00 PM

Hollow Truth. Louis deRosset (University of Vermont) @ NYU Philosophy Dept. rm 202
Oct 11 @ 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm

A number of puzzles concerning how truth-ascriptions are grounded have recently been discovered by several theorists, following Fine (2010). Most previous commentators on these puzzles have taken them to shed light on the theory of ground. In this paper, I argue that they also shed light on the theory of truth. In particular, I argue that the notion of ground can be deployed to clearly articulate one strand of deflationary thinking about truth, according to which truth is “metaphysically lightweight.” I will propose a ground-theoretic explication of the (entirely bearable) lightness of truth, and then show how this broadly deflationary view yields a novel solution to the puzzles concerning how truth is grounded. So, if the proposal I sketch is on target, the theory of truth and the theory of ground interact fruitfully: we can apply the notion of ground to offer a clear explication of the deflationist claim that truth is “metaphysically lightweight” that both captures the motivations for that claim and solves the puzzles.

The Role of Negative Emotions in the Good Life: Reflections from the Zhuangzi. Richard Kim @ Columbia University Religion Dept. 101
Oct 11 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

The philosophical and psychological literature on well-being tend to focus on the prudential value of positive emotions such as pleasure, joy, or gratitude. But how do the negative emotions such as grief fit into our understanding of well-being? It is often assumed that negative emotions are intrinsically bad far us and that we should work toward eliminating them, especially from the perspective of our own well-being.

In this presentation I want to question this assumption by drawing on the ideas of Zhuangzi (a prominent early Daoist thinker from the 4th Century BCE) to argue that negative emotions are not intrinsically bad for us, and that their prudential value or disvalue is context dependent. Zhuangzi’s outlook, with his focus on the flexibility of perspectives and living according to our natural, spontaneous inclinations, gives us reason to reconsider the role of negative emotions in our lives and how we might think about them in a more constructive way.

With responses from: CHRISTOPHER GOWANS  (Fordham University)

The Fall dates for the Comparative Philosophy seminar:

September 20 – Justin Tiwald (San Francisco State University)
October 11 – Richard Kim (Loyola University, Chicago
November 8 – Sungmoon Kim (City University of Hong Kong)
December 6 – Paul R. Goldin (University of Pennsylvania)

More details (such as titles, abstracts, and respondents) to follow. Looking forward to seeing you soon.

Hagop Sarkissian
Associate Professor & Chair, Department of Philosophy, The City University of New York, Baruch College
Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, CUNY Graduate Center 
Co-Director, Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy


The Buddha versus Popper: When to Live? Rohit Parikh @ CUNY Grad Center, 7314
Oct 21 @ 4:15 pm – 6:15 pm

We discuss two approaches to life: presentism and futurism. The first one, which we are identifying with the Buddha, is to live in the present and not to allow the future to hinder us from living in the ever present now. The second one, which we will identify with Karl Popper, is to think before we act, and act now for a better future. We will discuss various aspects of presentism and futurism, such as Ruth Millikan’s Popperian animal, the psychologist Howard Rachlin’s social and temporal discounting, and even the popular but controversial idea, YOLO (you live only once). The purpose of this talk is to contrast one with the other. The central question of ethics is: How should one live? Our variation on that question is: When should one live? We conjecture that the notion of flow, developed by Csikszentmihalyi, may be a better optimal choice between these two positions.

This work, which is joint with Jongjin Kim, is to appear in the Journal of Buddhist Ethics.

Logic and Metaphysics Workshop:

September 2 GC Closed NO MEETING

September 9 Yael Sharvit, UCLA

September 16  Ole Hjortland and Ben Martin, Bergen

September 23 Alessandro Rossi, StAndrews

September 30 GC Closed NO MEETING

October 7 Dongwoo Kim, GC

October 14 GC Closed NO MEETING

October 21 Rohit Parikh, GC

October 28 Barbara Montero, GC

November 4 Sergei Aretmov, GC

November 11 Martin Pleitz, Muenster

November 18

November 25
December 2 Jessica Wilson, Toronto

December 9 Mark Colyvan, Sydney


Empirical and Normative Truth in Democracy – Julian Nida-Rümelin (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München) @ NYU Philosophy Dept. 6th flr. lounge
Oct 31 @ 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

In public discourse, but also in political theory, the opinion prevails, that democracy is incompatible with aspirations of truth. Some assume, in the Hobbesian tradition, that civic peace requires that truth assertions be restricted to science and religion (normative positivism), whereas the political sphere is constituted by interests, bargaining and collective decisions based on interests, bargaining and rules of aggregation, be they implicit or explicit. In this perspective Collective Choice as preference aggregation is paradigmatic for the understanding of democracy. Postmodernist and neo-pragmatist thought dismisses truth, because it threatens solidarity and belonging. Libertarian political thought relies on market mechanisms reducing citizens to consumers and producers of material and immaterial goods like security and welfare. Accounts of deliberative democracy focus on reasoning in the public sphere but dismiss a realistic understanding of truth, because it is thought to threaten collective and individual self-determination.

In my talk I will argue that a realistic understanding of empirical and normative truth is compatible, even necessary, for an adequate understanding of democracy, that truth assertions do not threaten civic peace, that postmodernist relativity undermines democratic practice, that libertarian market-orientation is incompatible with the status of citizens in democracy and that even deliberative, but anti-realist, accounts of democracy do not allow for an adequate understanding of democracy. My argument is based on a Davidsonian, or pragmatist, understanding of truth, therefore one might say: it critizises normative positivism, postmodernism, libertarianism, and critical theory using pragmatist insights.

Julian Nida-Rümelin presently holds a chair for philosophy and political theory at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, is a member of the European Academy of Sciences, was president of the German Philosophical Association (DGphil) and state-minister for culture and media in the first government of Gerhard Schröder. The topics of his books include Democracy as Cooperation (1999); Democracy and Truth (2006), translated in Chinese and Italian, Philosophy and the form of Life (2009), Realism (2018) and A Theory of Practical Reason (2020, forthcoming, de Gruyter and PUP).


Generous support provided by the New York Institute of Philosophy.

Buddhism and Politics in Korea @ International Affairs Building, Room 918
Nov 8 @ 1:00 pm – 5:30 pm


“Giving as Spending and Spending as Giving: Buddhism and the Politics of Spending during the Chosŏn Dynasty”
Juhn Ahn, University of Michigan

The impact of the Koryŏ-Chosŏn transition on the Buddhist establishment in Korea is generally understood in current scholarship to have been a negative one. It is all too often assumed that Buddhist monasteries, who enjoyed great economic prosperity under Koryŏ’s culture of giving, were forced to undergo a radical reduction in size and number and their wealth confiscated to replenish the empty royal fisc. There is also a tendency to assume that this systematic restructuring of the Buddhist establishment, often dubbed its “decline,” was orchestrated and executed by a small group of reform-minded Neo-Confucian scholar-officials who saw Buddhism as an economic parasite and cause of unnecessary spending. It is true that the Buddhist establishment never again enjoyed the kind of wealth that it once did during the Koryŏ, but this paper argues that we should not take this as a sign of decline or the necessary outcome of state suppression. Instead, this paper will turn its attention to the politics of spending that continued to shape and reshape the Chosŏn court and show that the politics of spending provided the Buddhist establishment with an opportunity—an opportunity that it did in fact use—to redefine the conditions of its existence.

“Court Lady Ch’ŏn Ilch’ŏng (1848 – 1934) in the Making of Modern Korean Buddhism”
Hwansoo Kim, Yale University

In this talk, I will introduce the work of a forgotten Korean Buddhist laywoman who served as one of the highest-ranking ladies in the court of the late Chosŏn dynasty. I will demonstrate that Court Lady Ch’ŏn (1848 – 1934) was as integral to modernizing Korean Buddhism during the pre-colonial and colonial era as the Korean Buddhist monastics with whom she worked. By examining Ch’ŏn’s seminal role in the incipient stage of modern Korean Buddhism, the history of female Buddhist leadership can be extended.

Ch’ŏn primarily worked with the Korean monk and leader Yi Hoegwang (1862-1933), drawing on a wide network of relationships both inside and outside the court to help him establish the first modern institution of Korean Buddhism, build the first modern temple in central Seoul, and open a Buddhist clinic. However, because Yi was later condemned by historiography as the worst of Buddhists who had collaborated with Korea’s colonizer, Ch’ŏn’s leadership and legacy were likewise stigmatized and sidelined. This talk seeks to restore Ch’ŏn’s centrality as a Buddhist modernizer, thereby giving balance to a largely male-centered and ethno-centric history and lengthening the lineage of lay female leadership in the transformation of Korean Buddhism in the early twentieth century.

“Buddhism and State Violence in Modern Korea”
Jin Y. Park, American University

Historically, Korean Buddhism has been known as “State Protection Buddhism” (護國佛敎). The seemingly positive character of this description also points to the limitations of Korean Buddhism’s role in the broader context of society. A state should exist to protect its members, but history has witnessed that the state can and did exercise its power against its members. Which members did the Korean government support, and which were sacrificed in the process? What role did Korean Buddhism play in the unfolding of that history?

This presentation deals with Buddhism’s response to state violence in modern Korea. Through an analysis of a specific instance of state violence and Korean Buddhism’s response, the presentation tries to gauge Korean Buddhism’s capacity to engage with the socio-political milieu of human existence.

Co-sponsored by
The Academy of Korean Studies, Seoul Korea; Weatherhead East Asian Institute; the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures; The Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life; The Department of Religion;  The Center for Buddhism and East Asian Religion

Aristotle’s concept of matter and the generation of animals. Anna Schriefl @ Wolff Conference Room, D1106
Nov 14 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

There is a broad consensus that Aristotle introduced the concept of matter in order to develop a consistent account of substantial change. However, it is disputed which role matter fulfills in substantial change. According to the traditional interpretation, matter persists while taking on or losing a substantial form. According to a rival interpretation, matter does not persist in substantial change; instead, it is an entity from which a new substance can emerge and which ceases to exist in this process. In my view, both interpretations are problematic in the light of Aristotle’s broader ontological project and are at odds with the way Aristotle describes the substantial generation of living beings. On the basis of Aristotle’s biological theory, I will suggest that Aristotelian matter is a continuant in substantial generation, but does not satisfy the common criteria for persistence that apply to individual substances.

Anna Schriefl
Anna Schriefl is Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin (assistant professor) at the University of Bonn, and currently a visiting scholar at the New School. She has published a book about Plato’s criticism of money and wealth, and most recently an introduction into Stoicism (both in German).

The Immortal Spirit in Classical Chinese Aesthetics. Paul Goldin (UPenn) @ Columbia University Religion Dept. 101
Dec 6 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

This will be the third (and, time permitting, some material from the fourth) of a series of lectures that I aim to write up formally as a book.  We will begin with a brief review of the most familiar theory of Chinese aesthetics: works of art are the products of sensitive human beings who cannot suppress their sincere responses to emotional stimuli.  If art is understood as a sincere statement of this kind by a great genius, it stands to reason that, by correctly interpreting the work, one can communicate with that genius’s mind (xin 心) even after his or her death–and, likewise, that an artist today can communicate with audiences yet unborn.  Art is thus timeless and offers the possibility of incorporeal immortality.  If there is extra time, I will also survey two interrelated phenomena that I call meta-criticism and meta-writing (since there are no technical terms for them in Chinese).  Meta-criticism, i.e. criticism of criticism, is a major feature of Chinese theories about art.  Meta-criticism must be related to meta-writing, or the practice of writing about writing while exemplifying the very styles and techniques that one recommends: for example, artfully rhyming a couplet about rhyming.

With responses from: SANDRA SHAPSHAY (Hunter College, CUNY)

The Fall dates for the Comparative Philosophy seminar:

September 20 – Justin Tiwald (San Francisco State University)
October 11 – Richard Kim (Loyola University, Chicago
November 8 – Sungmoon Kim (City University of Hong Kong)
December 6 – Paul R. Goldin (University of Pennsylvania)

More details (such as titles, abstracts, and respondents) to follow. Looking forward to seeing you soon.

Hagop Sarkissian
Associate Professor & Chair, Department of Philosophy, The City University of New York, Baruch College
Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, CUNY Graduate Center 
Co-Director, Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy


Chinese Philosophy and Virtue Epistemology @ Brower Commons Conference Rooms A & B
Apr 17 all-day

Rutgers Workshop on Chinese Philosophy (RWCP) was launched in 2012. Co-directed by Tao Jiang, Dean Zimmerman and Stephen Angle, RWCP is designed to build a bridge between Chinese philosophy and Western analytic philosophy and to promote critical engagement and constructive dialogue between the two sides, with the hope of bringing the study of Chinese philosophy into the mainstream of philosophical discourse within the Western academy. It is run every other year, usually in late spring.

5th Rutgers Workshop on Chinese Philosophy: Chinese Philosophy and Virtue Epistemology
The 5th RWCP will be held on Friday, April 17, 2020. In this one-day workshop, six scholars of Chinese philosophy will engage two leading virtue epistemologists, Ernest Sosa and Linda Zagzebski. The program and papers will be available in the spring of 2020, one month before the workshop. RSVP will become available at that time as well, and it is required for attendance. Please stay tuned.


1. Where can I park?
Details will be provided as we get closer to the day of the workshop.
2. How can I get to the event on public transportation?
Take the NJ Transit Northeast Corridor Line to New Brunswick (njtransit.com). Make sure the train stops at New Brunswick as some might skip it during rush hours.

Contact Ms. Nancy Rosario (nr531@religion.rutgers.edu)

Co-sponsored by Rutgers Global-China Office and the Confucius Institute.