Lectures & Workshops

Fall 2019

Tuesday, Sept 17th, 5:30-7:00 p.m.

CAHI House, 1211 Atwater

Dr. Joy Brennan

"Life is Hard: Re-Centering the Diagnostic Model in Buddhist Philosophy"

The first teaching of Buddhism gives a medical analogy: life is hard (diagnosis), the difficulty has a cause (etiology), and we can do something about it (cure). You might think the rest of Buddhist philosophy is, or should be, footnotes to this medical analogy, but it is not often treated this way in much contemporary scholarship. This talk will explore the conceptual rewards of re-centering the diagnostic model in our practice of Buddhist philosophy, particularly in the study of mind-only or Yogācāra thought. The upshot? We get mind-only wrong when we fail to prioritize its status as a diagnosis, and recent attempts to naturalize Buddhist philosophy – in their easy assumption of an unselfconsciously secular (and materialist) episteme – run afoul of the insight that mind-only as diagnosis gives us about the nature and source of our delusive and corrosive attempts to interpret our own experiences and worlds.

Dr. Joy Brennan is an Assistant Professor at Kenyon College.