Workshop: Buddhism and Scepticism: Historical, Philosophical, and Comparative Approaches

I am excited to be taking part in the following workshop next week in Hamburg.  If I have time, maybe I’ll write a blog post about how it goes, so stay tuned for that.  In the meantime, here is the information.

Buddhism and Scepticism: Historical, Philosophical, and Comparative Approaches

November 14-16, 2017

Oren Hanner (MCAS), in cooperation with the Numata Center for Buddhist Studies, Universität Hamburg

From their earliest stages, Buddhist traditions have displayed a sceptical attitude towards various types of accepted knowledge. Buddhist thinkers, beginning from the historical Buddha, questioned metaphysical assumptions, the realistic view of the world, and the reliability of our sources of knowledge, and expressed doubt about common social norms and religious views. In this way, philosophical scepticism played a pivotal role in the way Buddhist thought evolved. It served both as a method for arriving at a reliable and liberating understanding of reality and, as some argue, as an aspect of spiritual practice.
The conference on Buddhism and Scepticism investigates the place of scepticism in the development of classical Buddhist thought from historical and philosophical perspectives. From a historical standpoint, the conference explores the development of sceptical strategies in Buddhism and their relation to non-Buddhist systems of thought in Europe and Asia. From a philosophical point of view, it explores the ways in which sceptical arguments are used in Buddhist philosophical works, and how they resemble, and differ from, sceptical methods in other, non-Buddhist philosophies.

Mark Siderits (Seoul National University/South Korea)


  • Amber Carpenter (Yale-NUS College, Singapore)
  • Gordon Davis (Carleton University, Ottawa/Canada)
  • Dong Xiuyuan (Shandong University/China)
  • Vincent Eltschinger (École pratique des hautes études, Paris/France)
  • Eli Franco (Universität Leipzig/Germany)
  • Georgios Halkias (University of Hong Kong)
  • Adrian Kuzminski (Independent Scholar)
  • Ethan Mills (University of Tennessee at Chattanooga/USA)
  • Serena Saccone (Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften)
  • James Mark Shields (Bucknell University, Lewisburg/USA)

For more information, see the website.

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