THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY
WILLIAM WALDRON (Middlebury College)
Please join at Columbia University's Religion Department on FRIDAY, APRIL 24 in Room 201 at 5:30PM for his lecture entitled:
“Naïve Realists and Innate Essentialists: Yogācāra Buddhism and Cognitive Science on our Innate Dispositions”
Remarkably, Yogācāra Buddhists from 5th c. India and some modern cognitive scientists from 21st c. America agree that human beings are naïve realists and innate essentialists. This innate essentialism, they both argue, relies on such deeply embedded cognitive schemas that we implicitly, nearly universally, and mostly unconsciously experience the world in terms of the essential categories of selves and objects—in what is tantamount to a kind of innate ignorance. It is, however, possible to see through such illusions, they say, by examining how ordinary cognitive experiences are constructed.
Bill Waldron teaches courses at Middlebury College on South Asian Buddhism, comparative psychology, and theory and method in the study of religion. His publications focus on the Yogācāra school of Indian Buddhism and its dialogue with modern thought. His monograph, The Buddhist Unconscious: The Ālaya-vijñāna in the Context of Indian Buddhist Thought, was published by RoutledgeCurzon in 2003. His new work, Making Sense of Mind-Only is in progress.
FRIDAY, APRIL 24
Rm. 201, 80 Claremont Ave, Columbia University