Episode 220 :: Massimo Pigliucci :: Secular Buddhism and Neo Stoicism

| March 21, 2015 | 1 Comment


Massimo Pigliucci

Science philosopher Massimo Pigliucci joins us to speak about his experiences with stoicism, and we discuss some similarities with secular Buddhism.

Hi, everyone. Before we get started with today’s episode, I want to remind the listeners that we’ve started a new podcast which may also interest you. It’s called Present Moment: Mindfulness Practice and Science, and appears every other week, alternating with The Secular Buddhist. You’ll find many of the same guests you’ve enjoyed and learned from here, as well as new researchers, teachers, and practitioners. You’ll find Present Moment in the Science & Medicine section of iTunes, in Natural Sciences, or just do an iTunes Store search for Mindfulness, and look in the results in the Podcasts section. You can also visit the website, PresentMomentMindfulness.com. Thanks for checking it out, and if you like what you hear, please feel free to share it with others.

We Buddhists sometimes think we’re the only ones who had an understanding that our actions and the conditions of our lives, come from our minds. Us secular Buddhists might be even a bit more smug about how we’re the ones doing it “right”, because we’re the only ones who do it in a way that’s the most accessible and with the least supernatural belief. But, as it turns out, there are other very similar ways of living our lives that come from entirely different times and cultures… than the entirely different time and culture from which our practices are rooted.

Massimo Pigliucci has a Doctorate in Genetics from the University of Ferrara (Italy), a PhD in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Connecticut, and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Tennessee. He has done post-doctoral research in evolutionary ecology at Brown University and is currently K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at City College and Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His research interests include the philosophy of biology, in particular the structure and foundations of evolutionary theory, the relationship between science and philosophy, and the nature of pseudoscience. Massimo has been elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science “for fundamental studies of genotype by environmental interactions and for public defense of evolutionary biology from pseudoscientific attack.” In the area of public outreach, Massimo has published in national magazines such as Skeptic, Skeptical Inquirer, Philosophy Now, and The Philosopher’s Magazine among others. He has also been elected a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Massimo edits and contributes to the online magazine Scientia Salon and co-hosts Rationally Speaking podcast. At last count, Massimo has published 136 technical papers in science and philosophy. He is also the author or editor of 10 technical and public outreach books, including Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk; Answers for Aristotle: How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to a More Meaningful Life; and Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem with Maarten Boudry.


Web Links

Music for This Episode Courtesy of Rodrigo Rodriguez

The music heard in the middle of this podcast is from Rodrigo Rodriguez. You can visit his website to hear more of his music, get the full discography, and view his upcoming tour dates.

Category: The Secular Buddhist Podcast

Ted Meissner

About the Author ()

Ted Meissner is the host of the podcast Present Moment: Mindfulness Practice and Science. He has been a meditator since the early 90’s, has been interviewed for Books and Ideas, Mindful Lives, and The Whole Leader podcasts, spoken about mindfulness with various groups including Harvard Humanist Hub, and has written for Elephant Journal and The International Journal of Whole Person Care. He is the Executive Director of the Secular Buddhist Association, host of the SBA’s official podcast The Secular Buddhist, and is on the Advisory Board for the Spiritual Naturalist Society. Ted’s background is in the Zen and Theravada traditions, he is a regular speaker on interfaith panel discussions, and is interested in examining the evolution of contemplative practice in contemporary culture. Ted teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care & Society, where he is the Manager of Online Programming and Community Development.

Comments (1)

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  1. Doug Smith Doug Smith says:

    Thanks very much for the wonderful podcast, Ted and Massimo. The more I hear about contemporary Stoicism the more I feel there should be ongoing dialogue between its practitioners and those of secular Buddhism. I think Stoicism has particular resonance with the philosophy found in the Pāli Nikāyas. Of course there are differences, but perhaps these might provide opportunities for learning and improvement. I believe the goal of both systems is broadly similar in the search for the good life, the ongoing improvement in moral character, and the minimization of greed, hatred, and ignorance. (To use concepts from both systems).

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