Colloquum - Pierre-Julien Harter

March 13, 3:15pm - 5:30pm
Mānoa Campus, Sakamaki Hall C-308

Be Compassionate Towards None
The Ontological and Ethical Status of the Other in Buddhism, Augustine, and Levinas

The Buddhist theory and practice of compassion often seem incompatible with the demand for the alleviation of the suffering of all beings and the claim that these beings don’t really exist as selves. Buddhist texts don’t shy away from the seeming contradiction. In fact, some of them argue that the highest kind of compassion is the one without object. Western scholars have often resorted to Buddhist metaphysics to propose a solution to this conundrum. This talk rather follows an ethical reflection about the paradoxical status of the other in ethics. With a detour through two “Western” thinkers, Augustine of Hippo and Emmanuel Levinas, we will sustain the paradox that the other is both encountered and transcended in ethics, a paradox fleshed out in Buddhist philosophy through the concept of the path.

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Philosophy, Mānoa Campus

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Jenna Saito, (808) 956-8649,,

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