Last year, the College of William and Mary in Virginia hired Dr. Laura Guerrero, a philosopher who specializes in Buddhist and comparative philosophies. The college made the announcement this week as it celebrates its Asian centenary, marking 100 years of Asian students attending the college, beginning with the admission of Chen Pu-Kao (陈步高) from China, who graduated in 1923.
While recognizing that change takes time, Dr. Guerrero works to improve the status of Buddhist philosophy and other perspectives not traditionally seen in academic philosophy.
“I am truly delighted to be here and to be involved in the Diversification of Philosophy project at William & Mary, and to work to make our field, our department and the university in general more inclusive in perspectives and voices we think of. and include,” Dr. Guerrero said. (William and Mary)
Last fall, Dr. Guerrero taught a new course called “Philosophy Across Cultures,” which focused specifically on methods and issues related to the study of cross-cultural philosophy. In addition to Buddhist philosophies, Dr. Guerrero has an interest in teaching more indigenous philosophy as well as African philosophy.
“In addition to the cross-cultural philosophy course, I also taught a course on Buddhist metaphysics,” Dr. Guerrero said. “But even the courses I teach that are already in the books, I teach them in a way that incorporates various philosophical traditions.
“The course I teach on the human self, I draw from Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian traditions and various other traditions when we talk about individuality. Thus, the diversity of the offer is not only in terms of courses, but also in the way I teach more traditional thematic courses. I can bring my expertise to these subjects and draw from other traditions when I talk about them. (William and Mary)
As part of the “Philosophy Across Cultures” course, Dr. Guerrero hosted two guest lecturers: Dr. Anand Vaidya, professor of philosophy at San Jose State University, and Dr. Jin Park, professor and director from the Department of Philosophy and Religion at American University. According to Dr. Guerrero:
It was promoted on the occasion of the Asian centenary, so it was really good. Many people came not only from my class, but from the university in general. . . And the two speakers I invited are philosophers of Asian descent, and they wrote essays for a special issue of the American Philosophical Association’s newsletter on Asian and Asian American philosophers and philosophies.
I invited them not only to give appropriate or traditional philosophy lectures, but I also invited them to share their experiences with my students to get my students thinking about the diversity in our field, the representation in our field, and the experiences of people who are underrepresented.
(William and Mary)
Dr. Guerrero has published numerous articles on Buddhist philosophy and comparative thought, including: “Don’t Stop Believing: An Argument Against Buddhist Skepticism” (2019) in the journal Comparative philosophy and “Free to be you and me: Cosmopolitanism, pluralism and Buddhist modernism” (2021) in the American Philosophical Association (APA) Bulletin on Asian and Asian-American Philosophers and Philosophies.
Getting to the core of Buddhist philosophy, Dr Guerrero said: “Buddhists have this really interesting division that they make between things that are ultimately real and things that are conventionally real. And there is not really in the Western philosophical traditions the same insistence on this kind of division. (William and Mary)
Through her work, she hopes to share this age-old line of thought with Western thinkers and “bring the Buddhist perspective into these conversations to see if any new insights might emerge about how we can think about what is real and why. it matters”. .” (William and Mary)
In conclusion, Dr Guerrero said, “So for me it’s interesting to try to see this as a shared human project to see how different traditions approach this. And how their worldviews shape the way we live in it. (William and Mary)
Faculty Member Brings New Specialties to W&M (William & Mary) Philosophy Department
BDG Related News Reports
Hebrew University of Jerusalem appoints Khyentse Professor of Buddhist Studies
The Institute of Buddhist Studies to become a member of the Graduate Theological Union
84000 establishes an adjunct professorship in Buddhist studies at the University of Toronto
Bulgarian University of Sofia launches master’s program in Buddhist studies
India aims to become a center of Buddhist studies
University of Arizona Center for Buddhist Studies Announces Expansion and Fundraising Effort
Khyentse Foundation Funds Chair of Tibetan Buddhist Studies in Munich
BDG Related Features
View of the Buddhist door: Scholarship Heals the World: Introspection for Buddhist Studies
Buddhism and Buddhist Studies in Sweden: Untapped Potential
Professor TH Barrett and the State of Contemporary Buddhist Studies
Buddhist Studies, Past, Present, and Future: An Interview with Dr. Donald Lopez, Part Two
Buddhist Studies, Past, Present, and Future: An Interview with Dr. Donald Lopez, Part One
Master Hin Hung: pioneer of modern Buddhist studies in Hong Kong