Does Practicing Mindfulness Make us More Ethical?

Wednesday, March 10, 2021 - 12:00pm

Speakers: 

William Edelglass

Director of Studies at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies; Associate Professor of Philosophy and Environmental Studies at Emerson College

Mindfulness is a hot topic these days, but does increasing our mindfulness make us more ethical?  And if so, how can we understand the moral dimension of mindfulness in the larger framework of moral philosophy. While mindfulness might be correlated with well-being, one might ask if it is also correlated with morality.  That is, does increasing our mindfulness make us more ethical?  And if so, how can we understand the moral dimension of mindfulness in the larger framework of moral philosophy?

Is mindfulness a particular kind of moral virtue if it supports the cultivation of capacities to be more responsive than reactive?  If mindfulness can disrupt or reform racializing bodily habits, how might that inform our thinking of the moral relevance of perception and attention? 

Drawing on arguments about ethics and mindfulness in classical Indian Buddhist texts together with contemporary work in philosophy and the cognitive and behavioral sciences, this talk will explore the place of mindful attention in moral philosophy.   

William Edelglass is Director of Studies at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and Associate Professor of Philosophy and Environmental Studies at Emerson College. Recent projects include work on: phenomenology and climate ethics; rethinking faith and reason in Indian Buddhism; Buddhism and human dignity; the limits of language; and critical reflections on the science of meditation.  He serves as chair of the board of directors of the International Association of Environmental Philosophy and co-editor of the journal Environmental Philosophy. William is also co-editor of Buddhist Philosophy: Essential Readings (Oxford University Press, 2009), the Oxford Handbook of World Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 2011), and Facing Nature: Levinas and Environmental ThoughtWilliam also serves on the editorial boards for a number of journals. For more on his scholarly work, see William’s interview with 3:AM Magazine or this conversation with William on the Imperfect Buddha Podcast.

This program is part of our series on mindfulness, Hack Your Mind.

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