The Synthesis of Marxism and Buddhism

We’re back! In the last several month Kevin, the Host of the Sensible Socialist has taken a step back and done a deep dive into the philosophy of Buddhism. In this return episode, Kevin talks with Graham Priest.

Graham Priest is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York. Hailing originally from South London, Graham moved to Australia to take a position at the University of Western Australia and stayed in Australia until he came to CUNY in 2009. With a primary focus in logic Graham has explored the logical implications of para-consistency and dialetheism and the role of contradictions. For those well versed in either Buddhist or Marxist ideas, contradiction plays a significant role in the underlying logic of these systems of thought. While trained in formal logic, his 2021 book Capitalism–its Nature and its Replacement: Buddhist and Marxist Insights, Graham attempts to make linkages between these two philosophical traditions and fear not, it doesn’t contain any formal logic.

It may be a surprise to Buddhists and Marxists alike that there is a connection between these two schools of thought. However, quite famous Buddhists – like the current Dalai Llama consider themselves Marxists, and quite famous Marxists such as B.R. Ambedkar were also Buddhists. In the last year or so, I have taken time away from this podcast and other projects to do my own investigation into Buddhism, its ideas and practice.

We discuss the core tenants of Buddhism, the contradictions and congruencies with Buddhism, the notion of Dukkha and alienation, Marxian and Buddhist theories of self, the role of the Sangha in Buddhism, and more.

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