Past Event

Beyond the Hype: “Buddhism and Neuroscience” in a New Key

November 11, 2016
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
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The event is at Deutsches Haus, 410 W 116th Street (view on campus map).

Over the past three decades, since the creation of the Mind and Life Institute in the 80s under the auspices of the Dalai Lama and the neurobiologist Francisco Varela, a series of conferences have introduced the idea of a convergence between Buddhism and neuroscience. Neuroscientists have been particularly interested in the possible neural correlates of Buddhist meditation, and their experiments have contributed to the current popularity of Mindfulness and derived techniques, such as “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.” Apart from meditation, a number of important issues, such as notions of self and non-self, or Buddhist ethics and neuroethics, have been discussed. Yet, because of the media attention and a desire to reach consensus, problems and disagreements between the two fields have sometimes been ignored or downplayed, and the conversation has been limited to certain forms of Buddhist thought and practice. The time has come to move “beyond the hype” and to engage in a broader and more critical discussion. With its strong programs in Neuroscience and Buddhist Studies, Columbia University is a natural venue for this conversation. This workshop includes scholars from both the scientific and the social science fields.

Michel Bitbol (Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris)
Willoughby Britton (Brown)
Marion Dapsance (Columbia)
Georges Dreyfus (Williams College)
Linda Heuman (Brown)
David McMahan (Franklin and Marshall College)
Ronald Purser (San Francisco State University)
William Waldron (Middlebury College)

This conference is free and open to the public. Please note that the entrance to Deutsches Haus requires stairs. Please contact Disability Services if you need assistance. See full schedule of the program.

Organized by:
Bernard Faure, Religion, Columbia University
Lydia H. Liu, Director, ICLS and EALAC, Columbia University

Co-sponsored by Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life; Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures; Barnard College; Center for Science and Society; Neuroscience and History Seminar Series; Heyman Center for the Humanities; The Italian Academy.