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”


The Ethical Stance and the Possibility of Critique. Webb Keane @ Wolff Conference Room, D1106
Sep 12 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Critique is an assertion of values pitted against a state of affairs. To say that things should not be the way they are–to respond to questions such as ‘Why do I think this political or economic arrangement is wrong (and why should I care?)?’ implies an ethical stance. Critique thus draws together fact and value, domains that a long tradition of moral thought has argued exist on distinct planes. For there are dimensions of political life that are incomprehensible without this conjunction between ethical motivations and social realities. But if they are to have political consequences, such questions cannot be confined to private introspection. Scale matters. This talk looks at the articulation between everyday interactions and social movements to show the interplay among the first, second, and third person stances that characterize ethical life. Drawing ethnographic examples from American feminism and Vietnamese Marxism, it considers some of the ways in which ethical intuitions emerge, consolidate, and change, and argues that objectifications and the reflexivity they facilitate help give ethical life a social history.

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


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