In this episode, we speak with Dr. Jay L. Garfield about his unconventional path to Buddhist Studies, the importance of multicultural philosophy, how philosophy can enrich Buddhist practice, and preview his upcoming online course, BSO 201 | Bodhicaryāvatāra: How to Lead an Awakened Life, which will focus on this important Mahayana text written by Śāntideva in the 8th century and cherished by Buddhists ever since.
Jay L. Garfield is Doris Silbert Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy, Logic and Buddhist Studies, Smith College. He chairs the Philosophy department at Smith College. He is also visiting professor of Buddhist philosophy at Harvard Divinity School, professor of philosophy at Melbourne University and adjunct professor of philosophy at the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies.
Garfield’s research addresses topics in the foundations of cognitive science and the philosophy of mind; metaphysics; the history of modern Indian philosophy; topics in ethics, epistemology and the philosophy of logic; the philosophy of the Scottish enlightenment; methodology in cross-cultural interpretation; and topics in Buddhist philosophy, particularly Indo-Tibetan Madhyamaka and Yogācāra.
Garfield’s most recent books are Knowing Illusion: Bringing a Tibetan Debate into Contemporary Discourse (with the Yakherds, 2021), Buddhist Ethics: A Philosophical Exploration (2021), What Can’t Be Said: Paradox and Contradiction in East Asian Thought (with Yasuo Deguchi, Graham Priest, and Robert Sharf, 2021), Minds Without Fear: Philosophy in the Indian Renaissance (with Nalini Bhushan, 2017), Engaging Buddhism: Why it Matters to Philosophy (2015), Moonpaths: Ethics and Emptiness (with the Cowherds, 2015).
He recently finished a book on selves and persons, Losing Yourself: How to Be a Person Without a Self, to be published in February 2022, and is working on several other projects.
Referenced in the Episode