Episode 83 :: Owen Flanagan :: The Bodhisattva's Brain

Owen Flanagan

Owen Flanagan speaks with us about his new book The Bodhisattva’s Brain: Buddhism Naturalized.

It’s not very often that I get a series of emails, FaceBook messages, and even Tweets about a new book that’s just come out, but recently that did occur. And because this is really a podcast for you, I listened, got the book, and the author has turned out to be not only generous with his time, but a terrific interview. So please do keep letting me know, as many of you do, about things you would like to hear about and people you would like me to interview, by clicking on the Contact button on the website, sending me a message on FaceBook, or using that new Twitter account I have set up, @SecularBuddhist.

This book particularly interested me because of the author’s merging of a comprehensive philosophical view, with the underlying naturalism that must underpin how such philosophy manifests in, say, neurological studies. There is a recognition that we are material beings in the universe, and that some interpretations of Buddhism are very stable and effective without reliance on the supernatural.

Owen Flanagan is James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy at Duke University. He is the author of The Bodhisattva’s Brain, Consciousness Reconsidered, and The Really Hard Problem: Meaning in a Material World.

So, sit back, relax, and have a nice Dunn Brother’s Infinite Black.

:: Discuss this episode ::


“I am interested in whether for us contemporary folk there is a useful and truthful philosophy in Buddhism, among the Buddhisms, that is compatible with the rest of knowledge as it now exists and specifically, because this is always a problem for spiritual traditions, whether Buddhism can be naturalized, tamed, and made compatible with a philosophy that is empirically responsible, and that does not embrace the low epistemic standards that permit all manner of superstition and nonsense, sometimes moral evil as well, in the name of tolerance, or, what is different, high spiritual attainment that warrants teleological suspension of the ethical in the hands of fanatics of all stripes.” — Owen Flanagan





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Music for This Episode

Shakuhachi Meditations

Shakuhachi Meditations

The music heard in the middle of the podcast is from Rodrigo Rodriguez’s CD, Shakuhachi Meditations. The tracks used in this episode are:

  • Cross of Light