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The Bodhisattva's Brain: Buddhism Naturalized
     

The Bodhisattva's Brain: Buddhism Naturalized

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by Owen Flanagan
 

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ISBN-10: 0262016044

ISBN-13: 9780262016049

Pub. Date: 08/05/2011

Publisher: MIT Press

If we are material beings living in a material world—and all the scientific evidence suggests that we are—then we must find existential meaning, if there is such a thing, in this physical world. We must cast our lot with the natural rather than the supernatural. Many Westerners with spiritual (but not religious) inclinations are attracted to Buddhism—

Overview

If we are material beings living in a material world—and all the scientific evidence suggests that we are—then we must find existential meaning, if there is such a thing, in this physical world. We must cast our lot with the natural rather than the supernatural. Many Westerners with spiritual (but not religious) inclinations are attracted to Buddhism—almost as a kind of moral-mental hygiene.

But, as Owen Flanagan points out in The Bodhisattva's Brain, Buddhism is hardly naturalistic. Atheistic when it comes to a creator god, Buddhism is otherwise opulently polytheistic, with spirits, protector deities, ghosts, and evil spirits.

Its beliefs include karma, rebirth, nirvana, and nonphysical states of mind. What is a nonreligious, materially grounded spiritual seeker to do? In The Bodhisattva's Brain, Flanagan argues that it is possible to subtract the "hocus pocus" from Buddhism and discover a rich, empirically responsible philosophy that could point us to one path of human flourishing. "Buddhism naturalized," as Flanagan constructs it, contains a metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics; it is a fully naturalistic and comprehensive philosophy, compatible with the rest of knowledge. Some claim that neuroscience is in the process of validating Buddhism empirically, but Flanagan's naturalized Buddhism does not reduce itself to a brain scan showing happiness patterns. Buddhism naturalized offers instead a tool for achieving happiness and human flourishing—a way of conceiving of the human predicament, of thinking about meaning for finite material beings living in a material world.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262016049
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
08/05/2011
Pages:
280
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Related Subjects

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction: Buddhism Naturalized 1

I An Essay in Comparative Neurophilosophy

1 The Bodhisattva's Brain 9

2 The Color of Happiness 37

3 Buddhist Epistemology and Science 59

II Buddhism as a Natural Philosophy

4 Selfless Persons 93

5 Being No-Self and Being Nice 115

6 Virtue and Happiness 165

Postscript: Cosmopolitanism and Comparative Philosophy 203

Notes 209

References 237

Index 249

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Bodhisattva's Brain: Buddhism Naturalized 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best way to describe this mound of barren and arrogantly myopic research is to present the old Buddhist story: Duke university professor once visited a famous Zen master. While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked on and on about disembodied consciousness and taxonomy of conscious-mental-state The master poured the visitor’s cup to the brim, and then kept pouring and pouring as the tea overflowed onto the table. “It’s overfull! No more will go in!” the professor blurted. Master replied,"Like this cup,you are full of your own opinions and speculations. “How can I show you Dharma unless you first empty your cup?"