Buddhist Meditation and the Possibility of Freedom

Science, Religion and Culture 2 (2):81-98 (2016)
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Abstract

I argue that if the claims Buddhist philosophy makes about meditation virtuosos are plausible, then Buddhism may rebut most of the strongest arguments for free will skepticism found in Western analytic philosophy, including the hard incompatiblist's argument (which combines the arguments for hard determinism, such as the consequence argument, with those for hard indeterminism, such as the randomness argument), Pereboom's manipulation argument, and Galen Strawson's impossibility argument. The main idea is that the meditation virtuoso can cultivate a level of mind control that is impervious to the causal origins of her mental states, on the basis of which ability an account of free will may be erected, consistent with the claim that Buddhist enlightenment consists in some sort of radical conception of the ultimately impersonal nature of the agent.

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Rick Repetti
Kingsborough Community College (CUNY)

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