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RELIGST 154: Buddhism and Science: A Critical Introduction to the Encounter

Buddhism has figured in the Western imagination as a "rational religion," a "philosophy" that is mostly compatible with science. While the notion of Buddhism as "scientific" is both controversial and open to exaggeration, in the last few decades, this positive image has helped to facilitate direct encounters between Buddhism and science in multiple settings--dialogues between scientists and Buddhist scholars on key topics such as mindfulness, collaborative presentations and workshops at academic conferences, scientific research on contemplative practices, and so forth. This course explores the many facets of the encounter between Buddhism and science. It aims to do so through discussion and debate of relevant scientific papers, traditional Buddhist literature, science and technology studies (STS), and anthropological literature. Topics to be addressed include, among others, the encounter between Buddhism and psychology; the study of Buddhist contemplative practices in the laboratory; the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program and the "Mindful Revolution"; the creation of a Buddhist "science of happiness"; Buddhism and technology; and Buddhism, science, and the idea of secularism.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-SI
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