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Buddhist Studies: Dr. Oren Hanner to Give Online Talk on Buddhist Ethics and Shared Agency

Dr. Oren Hanner, a Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy at New York University in Abu Dhabi and Research Fellow at the Numata Center for Buddhist Studies at the University of Hamburg, will give a live-streamed talk on 12 March on the theme “Towards a Buddhist Theory of Shared Agency.”

Dr. Hanner’s public talk, which will be hosted by The Buddha-Dharma Centre of Hong Kong (BDCHK), a postgraduate research institute and center for Buddhist studies, can be attended online via Zoom, or in person on the premises of the BDCHK in downtown Hong Kong’s Pacific Place building. 

“Contemporary scholarship on Buddhist ethics, in particular works that are motivated by the vision of engaged Buddhism, has made various attempts at reconstructing Buddhist answers to modern ethical problems. Some of these issues are collective and political in nature; for instance, how the Buddhist teachings can inspire environmental activism or provide principles for a just society,” , the BDCHK explained in an announcement shared with BDG

“[This upcoming] talk will seek to introduce a theoretical foundation for Buddhist ethics in a social context by considering the question of shared responsibility; that is, the responsibility that individual agents bear for actions undertaken together with other individuals. This account of shared agency and responsibility will be reconstructed based on three vignettes from Vasubandhu’s work on action and its results in his Abhidharmakośabhāṣya (Treasury of Metaphysics) and Vimśatikā (Twenty Verses) as well as insights from Buddhist narrative literature.”

Dr. Oren Hanner. Image courtesy of the BDCHK

Dr. Hanner’s academic work is centered on the history of Indian and Buddhist philosophy, ethics and action theory, and cross-cultural philosophy. His edited volume Buddhism and Scepticism: Historical, Philosophical, and Comparative Perspectives (Hamburg Buddhist Studies Series 13, Projekt Verlag, 2020) examines the place and role of skeptical thinking in Buddhist philosophy from both Buddhist and cross-cultural perspectives. Dr. Hanner’s ongoing research interests include the meaning of life, collective agency, and justice in Buddhism.

“After considering the motivations of Buddhist authors for contemplating the problem of shared agency and responsibility, I will present an analysis of the conditions required for shared actions according to Vasubandhu, linking them to his broader account of action, and propose that his theory offers Western debates on shared agency new perspectives on this issue, including a more elaborate notion of shared agency and an internalist standard of moral evaluation,” Dr. Hanner said of his upcoming lecture.

Dr. Hanner’s public talk, “Towards a Buddhist Theory of Shared Agency,” will be conducted in English and live-streamed at the following times:

Auckland: 12am, Wednesday, 13 March
Canberra: 10pm, Tuesday, 12 March
Seoul, Tokyo: 8pm, Tuesday, 12 March
Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei: 7pm, Tuesday, 12 March
Bangkok, Jakarta: 6pm, Tuesday, 12 March
New Delhi: 4:30pm, Tuesday, 12 March
Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, Stockholm: 12pm, Tuesday, 12 March
London: 11am, Tuesday, 12 March
Montreal, New York: 7am, Tuesday, 12 March
Los Angeles, Vancouver: 4am, Tuesday, 12 March

Click here for full details and to register

Established in 2012, The Buddha-Dharma Centre of Hong Kong is a Hong Kong-registered charitable institution that works to promote the integration of Buddhist studies and Dharma practice, framed by the doctrine of the five spiritual faculties: faith, vigor, mindfulness, equipoise, and wisdom. Under this broad remit, the BDCHK promotes the study and research of Buddhism by offering academic courses, published papers and volumes, and regular seminars, lectures, and conferences.

The BDCHK’s academic programs, which are open to lay and monastic international students, include: Diploma in Pali and Buddhist Studies; Master of Arts Degree in Buddhist Studies; Master of Philosophy in Buddhist Studies; and Doctor of Philosophy in Buddhist Studies.

See more

Towards a Buddhist Theory of Shared Agency – Public Talk by Dr Oren Hanner (The Buddha-Dharma Centre of Hong Kong Limited)

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