Professors are Leaders in the Buddhist Studies Field

For the first time, two philosophers from the College of Charleston presented papers at the XVIth Congress of the International Association of Buddhist Studies in Taipei, Taiwan in June 2011. This academic conference is the premier international forum during which scholars of Buddhism may present their findings. It brings together a select group of about 500 scholars from all over the world and most presentations end up as publications in the relevant journals and edited volumes.

“It is incredibly rare for two philosophers from the same university to be presenting at this conference or any other international conference,” says assistant professor Christian Coseru. “Not only will the College gain visibility, it also gains recognition as a leader in Buddhist research.”

Assistant Professor Christian Coseru presented “Reasons and Causes: A Naturalized Account of Dharmakīrti’s Kāryānumāna Argument.” In this paper, I propose that we open our investigation of Dharmakīrti’s causal account of knowledge to input from the sciences of cognition as a means of providing an empirical justification for his kāryānumāna argument (that is, the argument that an inference is sound only when one infers from the effect to the cause and not vice versa).

Professor Sheridan Hough presented “Would Sartre Have Suffered from Nausea if he had Understood the Buddhist No-self Doctrine?” I will provide an analysis of the assumptions at work in Sartre’s vivid depiction of Roquentin’s ailment, and the unsatisfactory solution he provides. I will then sketch out an alternative affect for Roquentin by appealing to Vasubandhu’s analysis of the dynamics of the five aggregates in the ‘Pañcaskandhaprakaraṇa’. Finally, I argue that Vasubandhu’s account of the source of subliminal impressions and his theory of the apparitional nature of cognitive aspects at work in ‘Viṃśatikā’ and ‘Triṃśikā’ provides an interesting philosophical remedy for nausea.

For more information, contact Christian Coseru at coseruc@cofc.edu or Sheridan Hough at houghs@cofc.edu.