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Profile: Christian Coseru (College of Charleston)
  1. Christian Coseru, Taking the Intentionality of Perception Seriously: Why Phenomenology is Inescapable.
    The Buddhist philosophical investigation of the elements of existence and/or experience (or dharmas) provides the basis on which Dignāga, Dharmakīrti, and their followers deliberate on such topics as the ontological status of external objects and the epistemic import of perceptual states of cognitive awareness. In this essay I will argue that the Buddhist epistemologists, insofar as they accord perception a privileged epistemic status, share a common ground with phenomenologists in the tradition of Husserl and Merleau-Ponty, who contend that perception is (...)
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  2. Christian Coseru (forthcoming). “Buddhist ‘Foundationalism’ and the Phenomenology of Perception,” Philosophy East and West 59:4 (October 2009): 409-439. [REVIEW] Philosophy East and West.
    In this essay, which draws on a set of interrelated issues in the phenomenology of perception, I call into question the assumption that Buddhist philosophers of the Dignāga-Dharmakīrti tradition pursue a kind of epistemic foundationalism. I argue that the embodied cognition paradigm, which informs recent efforts within the Western philosophical tradition to overcome the Cartesian legacy, can be also found– albeit in a modified form–in the Buddhist epistemological tradition. In seeking to ground epistemology in the phenomenology of cognition, the Buddhist (...)
     
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  3. Christian Coseru (forthcoming). Selves: Subpersonal, Immersed, and Participating. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-6.
    This book marks the beginning of a new phase in the philosophical investigation of classical and contemporary accounts of the self: canonical boundaries have been crossed and doctrinal justification abandoned in favor of a cosmopolitan ideal of syncretic, theoretically perspicuous, and historically informed systematic reflection. That such reflection bears on so central a concept as the self is only fitting given its implications for a broad range of questions concerning agency, the mind-body problem, and self-knowledge that are now pursued across (...)
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  4. Christian Coseru (2014). Buddhism, Comparative Neurophilosophy, and Human Flourishing. Zygon 49 (1):208-219.
    Owen Flanagan's The Bodhisattva's Brain represents an ambitious foray into cross-cultural neurophilosophy, making a compelling, though not entirely unproblematic, case for naturalizing Buddhist philosophy. While the naturalist account of mental causation challenges certain Buddhist views about the mind, the Buddhist analysis of mind and mental phenomena is far more complex than the book suggests. Flanagan is right to criticize the Buddhist claim that there could be mental states that are not reducible to their neural correlates; however, when the mental states (...)
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  5. Christian Coseru (2013). Reason and Experience in Buddhist Epistemology. In Steven Emmanuel (ed.), A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy. Wiley-Blackwell.
    As a specific domain of inquiry, “Buddhist epistemology” (sometimes designated in the specialist literature by the Sanskrit neologism pramāṇavāda, or the “theory of reliable sources of knowledge”) stands primarily for the dialogical-disputational context in which Buddhists advance their empirical claims to knowledge and articulate the principles of reason on the basis of which such claims may be defended. The main questions pursued in this article concern the tension between the notion that knowledge is ultimately a matter of direct experience---which the (...)
     
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  6. Christian Coseru (2012). Perceiving Reality: Consciousness, Intentionality, and Cognition in Buddhist Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
    What turns the continuous flow of experience into perceptually distinct objects? Can our verbal descriptions unambiguously capture what it is like to see, hear, or feel? How might we reason about the testimony that perception alone discloses? Christian Coseru proposes a rigorous and highly original way to answer these questions by developing a framework for understanding perception as a mode of apprehension that is intentionally constituted, pragmatically oriented, and causally effective. By engaging with recent discussions in phenomenology and analytic philosophy (...)
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  7. Christian Coseru (2009). Buddhist 'Foundationalism' and the Phenomenology of Perception. Philosophy East and West 59 (4):409-439.
    In this essay, which draws on a set of interrelated issues in the phenomenology of perception, I call into question the assumption that Buddhist philosophers of the Dignāga-Dharmakīrti tradition pursue a kind of epistemic foundationalism. I argue that the embodied cognition paradigm, which informs recent efforts within the Western philosophical tradition to overcome the Cartesian legacy, can be also found– albeit in a modified form–in the Buddhist epistemological tradition. In seeking to ground epistemology in the phenomenology of cognition, the Buddhist (...)
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  8. Christian Coseru (2009). Mind in Indian Buddhist Philosophy. In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Perhaps no other classical philosophical tradition, East or West, offers a more complex and counter-intuitive account of mind and mental phenomena than Buddhism. While Buddhists share with other Indian philosophers the view that the domain of the mental encompasses a set of interrelated faculties and processes, they do not associate mental phenomena with the activity of a substantial, independent, and enduring self or agent. Rather, Buddhist theories of mind center on the doctrine of no-self (Pāli anatta, Skt.[1] anātma), which postulates (...)
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  9. Christian Coseru (2009). Naturalism and Intentionality: A Buddhist Epistemological Approach. Asian Philosophy 19 (3):239-264.
    In this paper I propose a naturalist account of the Buddhist epistemological discussion of _svasa(m)dotvitti_ ('self-awareness', 'self-cognition') following similar attempts in the domains of phenomenology and analytic epistemology. First, I examine the extent to which work in naturalized epistemology and phenomenology, particularly in the areas of perception and intentionality, could be profitably used in unpacking the implications of the Buddhist epistemological project. Second, I argue against a foundationalist reading of the causal account of perception offered by (...)
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  10. Christian Coseru (2008). A Review of Zen Buddhism and Environmental Ethics. [REVIEW] Sophia 47 (1):75-77.
    Simon P. James' Zen Buddhism and Environmental Ethics offers an engaging, sophisticated, and well-argued defence of the notion that Zen Buddhism has something positive to offer the environmental movement. James' goal is two-fold: first, dispel criticism that Zen (by virtue of its anti-philosophical stance) lacks an ethical program (because it shuns conventional morality), has no concern for the environment at large (because it adopts a thoroughly anthropocentric stance), and deprives living entities of any intrinsic worth (because it operates from the (...)
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  11. Christian Coseru (2007). A Review of Buddhism, Virtue, and Environment, by David E. Cooper and Simon P. James. [REVIEW] Sophia 46 (2):75-77.
    Do Buddhist ‘moral’ principles, such as generosity, equanimity, and compassion, consistently map onto Greek and, more generally, Western ‘virtues’? In other words, is it at all possible to talk about a Buddhist ‘virtue ethics’? Should equanimity, for instance, be understood as having the same function in Buddhist moral thought as temperance has for Plato, Aristotle, or the Stoics? Does the Buddha’s effort to embody certain cardinal virtues (sīla) resemble the classical Greek and Roman pursuit of a life of personal flourishing (...)
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  12. Christian Coseru (2007). David E. Cooper and Simon P. James, Buddhism, Virtue, and Environment. Aldershot, Ashgate, 2005, 142 + X Pp., ISBN: 075463910X, Pb. [REVIEW] Sophia 46 (2):207-209.
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  13. Christian Coseru (2006). A "Restricted" Interpretation of Dharmakīrti's Philosophy. [REVIEW] H-Net Reviews in the Humanities and Social Sciences (May).
    The continuing surge in work on Dharmakīrti represents one of the most fertile enterprises within the field of Buddhist Studies. The only South Asian philosopher to have been the subject of four international conferences, Dharmakīrti commands a veritable legacy of scholarship, whether directly, through the translation and study of his own works, or indirectly, through the study of his followers, commentators, and one-time opponents.[1] In the context of this burgeoning enterprise, characterized by a high degree of specialization, any attempt to (...)
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  14. Christian Coseru (2004). A Review Essay of Destructive Emotions: How Can We Overcome Them? A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama. [REVIEW] Journal of Buddhist Ethics 11 (1):98-102.
    Destructive Emotions is part of a new wave of works seeking to enlarge the scope of cognitive science by joining together scientific and contemplative approaches to the study of consciousness and cognition. While some still regard this rapprochement with suspicion, a growing number of scholars and researchers in the sciences of the mind are persuaded that contemplative practices such as we find, for instance, in Buddhism resemble a vast and potentially useful introspective laboratory.
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