Mark Siderits (Illinois State University): “Non-self and ‘Religion’: Buddhism’s anti-essentialist challenge to the category”

Mark Siderits

Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Illinois State University

Non-self and “Religion”: Buddhism’s anti-essentialist challenge to the category

Tuesday, October 18, 5:00pm, Swift 201

Buddhism has been viewed as something of an outlier in the category of major religions. Among reasons given for this judgment are its atheism, its denial of immortality, and its allegedly ‘scientific’ outlook; but these do not stand up to critical scrutiny. Perhaps more significant is the anti-essentialism to be found at the core of its solution to the problem of existential suffering. An investigation of the role of non-self in the Buddhist account of liberation from suffering suggests that what we find in the Buddhist  tradition is soteriology without teleology.

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