Christopher Gowans – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “Self-Cultivation Philosophy as an Interpretive Framework: The Critique of Desire” Feb 24 at 5:30pm

Welcomes: CHRISTOPHER GOWANS (Fordham University)
With responses from: BRYAN VAN NORDEN (Vassar College)

Please join us at Columbia University’s Religion Department on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24th at 5:30PM for his lecture entitled:

Self-Cultivation Philosophy as an Interpretive Framework: The Critique of Desire

ABSTRACT: I will explain and defend a concept of self-cultivation philosophy and argue that it is a valuable interpretive framework for comprehending, comparing and assessing several central philosophical traditions in ancient Greece, China and India (and for envisioning one form philosophy could take today). In brief, a self-cultivation philosophy propounds a program of development for improving the lives of human beings on the basis of some philosophy about the nature of a good human life. My understanding of the concept of philosophy in this account of self-cultivation philosophy draws on the resources of contemporary virtue epistemology. My argument for its value as an interpretive framework partly consists of showing, as an illustration of one prominent theme, how each of six traditions (Epicureanism, Stoicism, Confucianism, Daoism, Yoga/Samkhya and Buddhism) provides a philosophical basis for a significant transformation of desire (elimination, reduction, modification, control, etc.) as a crucial part of a self-cultivation practice for attaining a good life.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 5:30-7:30 pm

Rm. 101, 80 Claremont Ave, Columbia University


March 31st – Gary Ostertag (CUNY Graduate Center | Nassau Community College), respondent Graham Priest (CUNY Graduate Center)
May 5th – Warren Frisina (Hofstra University)





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