Buddhism and Modern Psychology
list 6 sequences
assignment Level : Introductive
chat_bubble_outline Language : English
language Subtitles : Spanish, Hungarian
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Key information

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verified_user Fee-based Certificate
timer 12 hours in total

About the content

The Dalai Lama has said that Buddhism and science are deeply compatible and has encouraged Western scholars to critically examine both the meditative practice and Buddhist ideas about the human mind. A number of scientists and philosophers have taken up this challenge. There have been brain scans of meditators and philosophical examinations of Buddhist doctrines. There have even been discussions of Darwin and the Buddha: Do early Buddhist descriptions of the mind, and of the human condition, make particular sense in light of evolutionary psychology? This course will examine how Buddhism is faring under this scrutiny. Are neuroscientists starting to understand how meditation “works”? Would such an understanding validate meditation—or might physical explanations of meditation undermine the spiritual significance attributed to it? And how are some of the basic Buddhist claims about the human mind holding up? We’ll pay special attention to some highly counterintuitive doctrines: that the self doesn’t exist, and that much of perceived reality is in some sense illusory. Do these claims, radical as they sound, make a certain kind of sense in light of modern psychology? And what are the implications of all this for how we should live our lives? Can meditation make us not just happier, but better people? All the features of this course are available for free. It does not offer a certificate upon completion.

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Syllabus

  • Week 1 - The Buddhist Diagnosis
     
  • Week 2 - The Buddhist Prescription
     
  • Week 3 - Does Your Self Exist?
     
  • Week 4 - A New Model of the Mind
     
  • Week 5 - Mental Modules and Meditation
     
  • Week 6 - What is Enlightenment?
     
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Instructors

Robert Wright
Visiting Lecturer
Religion Department and the Center for Human Values

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Content designer

Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. It is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution.
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Coursera

Coursera is a digital company offering massive open online course founded by computer teachers Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller Stanford University, located in Mountain View, California. 

Coursera works with top universities and organizations to make some of their courses available online, and offers courses in many subjects, including: physics, engineering, humanities, medicine, biology, social sciences, mathematics, business, computer science, digital marketing, data science, and other subjects.

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