Janet Gyatso is Assistant Professor of Religion at Amherst College.
If we are material beings living in a material world—and all the scientific evidence suggests that we are—then we must find existential meaning, if there is such a thing, in this physical world. We must cast our lot with the natural rather than the supernatural. Many Westerners with spiritual (but not religious) inclinations are attracted to Buddhism—almost as a kind of moral-mental hygiene. But, as Owen Flanagan points out in The Bodhisattva's Brain, Buddhism is hardly naturalistic. In The Bodhisattva's Brain, Flanagan argues that it is possible to discover in Buddhism a rich, empirically responsible philosophy that could point us to one path of human flourishing.
Some claim that neuroscience is in the process of validating Buddhism empirically, but Flanagan's naturalized Buddhism does not reduce itself to a brain scan showing happiness patterns. "Buddhism naturalized," as Flanagan constructs it, offers instead a fully naturalistic and comprehensive philosophy, compatible with the rest of knowledge—a way of conceiving of the human predicament, of thinking about meaning for finite material beings living in a material world.
The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Memoryis an outstanding reference source on the key topics, problems, and debates in this exciting area, and is the first philosophical collection of its kind. The forty-eight chapters are written by an international team of contributors, and divided into nine parts: The nature of memory The metaphysics of memory Memory, mind, and meaning Memory and the self Memory and time The social dimension of memory The epistemology of memory Memory and morality History of philosophy of memory.
Within these sections, central topics and problems are examined, including: truth, consciousness, imagination, emotion, self-knowledge, narrative, personal identity, time, collective and social memory, internalism and externalism, and the ethics of memory. The final part examines figures in the history of philosophy, including Aristotle, Augustine, Freud, Bergson, Wittgenstein, and Heidegger, as well as perspectives on memory in Indian and Chinese philosophy.
Essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy, particularly philosophy of mind and psychology, the Handbook will also be of interest to those in related fields, such as psychology and anthropology.
In the opening chapter, Bobbio reassesses the notion of progress from the perspective of an old man. Arguing for an understanding of historical change as the transfer between generations, Bobbio explains how the elderly are increasingly marginalized in contemporary society. Referring to the traditional idea of old age as the 'age of wisdom', Bobbio argues that our ever-accelerating technological progress has dramatically shifted the power of knowledge from old to young. This discussion of old age as a social problem is accompanied by a reflection on old age as a personal predicament. In his elegant and lucid prose, Bobbio confronts the facts of decrepitude and death. In taking stock of his life, he argues once again for the importance of democracy and human rights.
This is a beautifully written book that will be of great interest to the academic and general reader alike. Its intellectual content renders it of particular value to students in the fields of philosophy, politics and the social sciences.
In his General Introduction, John J. Holder discusses the structure and language of the Pali Canon--its importance within the Buddhist tradition and the historical context in which it developed--and gives an overview of the basic doctrines of early Buddhism.
When Mala and Ronak learn that their mother has only a few months to live, they are reluctantly pulled back into the midwestern world of their Indian immigrant parents--a diaspora of prosperous doctors and engineers who have successfully managed to keep faith with the old world while claiming the prizes of the new. More successfully than their children--equally ill at ease with Holi and Christmas, bhaji and barbecue, they are mysteries to their parents and themselves.
In the short time between diagnosis and deterioration, Mala sets about learning everything she can about her mother's art of Indian cooking. Perfecting the naan and the raita, the two confront their deepest divisions and failures and learn to speak as well as cook. But when Ronak hits upon the idea of selling their experience as a book and a TV documentary, India and America, immigrant and native-born are torn as never before.
With grace, acuity, and wry compassion, Amit Majmudar has written anew the immigrant experience, the clash of cultures, the conflicts of assimilation, and, most poignantly, the tangled ties between generations in The Abundance.