Ask Not What Buddhism Can Do

Jay Garfield
Smith College
Enthusiasts for the scientific character of Buddhism wax eloquent regarding the insights that the Buddhist tradition can deliver to cognitive science, and the contributions that meditative technique can make to understanding cognitive and affective processes. To be sure, there are contributions in this direction, though their significance may be overestimated. Less attention is paid to the value of cognitive theory for developing Buddhist insights in the 21 st Century, and the role of science in the dissemination of Buddhism in the modern world. I will pay some attention to that value. I conclude with some remarks on the potential value of Buddhist psychology to the development of moral psychology, an area in which Buddhism has a great deal to contribute
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