Episode 23

Published on:

30th Jul 2021

Special Episode: Interview with Evan Thompson on Buddhist Exceptionalism

We class up the podcast this week with another special interview with a philosopher specialising in Asian philosophical traditions, cognitive science, and philosophy of mind.

In our discussion with Evan we address the reception and presentation of Buddhism in the West, whether it is accurate to describe it as a mind science, and how 'Buddhist modernism' is related to Buddhist exceptionalism. We also get into debates of the nature of Self and whether Sam Harris is correct to claim that modern cognitive science has confirmed the insights from Buddhism.

This is not an episode targeting the tradition of Buddhism but rather an examination of a specific (modern) manifestation of Buddhism that is particularly popular in the West (and has long been a topic of fascination for Chris!).

So join us to distill the real teachings of the Buddha and hear how our ramblings are confirmed by 2,500 years of introspective mind science!


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About the Podcast

Decoding the Gurus
A psychologist and an anthropologist try to make sense of the world's greatest self-declared Gurus.
An exiled Northern Irish anthropologist and a hitchhiking Australian psychologist take a close look at the contemporary crop of 'secular gurus', iconoclasts, and other exiles from the mainstream, offering their own brands of unique takes and special insights.

Leveraging two of the most diverse accents in modern podcasting, Chris and Matt dig deep into the claims, peek behind the psychological curtains, and try to figure out once and for all... What's it all About?

Join us, as we try to puzzle our way through and talk some smart-sounding smack about the intellectual giants of our age, from Jordan Peterson to Robin DiAngelo. Are they revolutionary thinkers or just grifters with delusions of grandeur?

Join us and let's find out!
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About your hosts

Christopher Kavanagh

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A Northern Irish cognitive anthropologist who occasionally moonlights as a social psychologist. Chris has long standing interests in the psychology of conspiracy theorists and pseudoscience. His academic research focuses on the Cognitive Science of Religion and ritual psychology. He lives happily in Japan with his family.

Matthew Browne

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An Australian psychologist and numbers-guy. He does research on all kinds of stuff, but particularly enjoys looking into why people believe the things they do: religion, conspiracy theories, alternative medicine and stuff. He's into social media in the same way people slow down for car accidents.