EXAMINING THE BODHISATTVA'S BRAIN

with Christian Coseru, “Buddhism, Comparative Neurophilosophy, and Human Flourishing”; Charles Goodman, “Buddhism, Naturalism, and the Pursuit of Happiness”; Bronwyn Finnigan, “Examining the Bodhisattva's Brain”; and Owen Flanagan, “Buddhism and the Scientific Image: Reply to Critics.”

Authors

  • Bronwyn Finnigan


Abstract

Owen Flanagan's The Bodhisattva's Brain aims to introduce secular-minded thinkers to Buddhist thought and motivate its acceptance by analytic philosophers. I argue that Flanagan provides a compelling caution against the hasty generalizations of recent “science of happiness” literature, which correlates happiness with Buddhism on the basis of certain neurological studies. I contend, however, that his positive account of Buddhist ethics is less persuasive. I question the level of engagement with Buddhist philosophical literature and challenge Flanagan's central claim, that a Buddhist version of eudaimonia is a common core conception shared by all Buddhists. I argue that this view is not only a rational reconstruction in need of argumentation but is in tension with competing Buddhist metaphysical theories of self, including the one Flanagan himself endorses.

Ancillary