• Offered by School of Philosophy
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Philosophy
  • Areas of interest Philosophy, Asian Studies
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Bronwyn Finnigan
    • Koji Tanaka
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2015
    See Future Offerings

Since the time of the Buddha, Buddhists have developed a rigorous and profound tradition of philosophy. The Buddhist path consists in the combined practice of philosophical reasoning, ethical practice and meditation. This course will focus on philosophical reasoning. For Buddhists, enlightenment is attained by gaining insight into the nature of reality (metaphysics), knowledge (epistemology), language (philosophy of language) and our ways of living (ethics). These insights are acquired, in large part, by subjecting our beliefs to rational scrutiny. In this course, we critically examine some of the core issues in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of language and ethics that are elaborated by Buddhist philosophers. The course proceeds by analyzing some core texts of Buddhist philosophy (in English translation) together with some secondary literature. We study Buddhist philosophy not as an item of historical and cultural interest but as an attempt to ascertain how much truth lies in this system of thought. Once we gain an understanding of the views expounded by Buddhist philosophers, we will subject their doctrines to rational scrutiny in the hope of attaining some enlightenment for ourselves.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Demonstrate a general knowledge of some major schools, figures and issues in the Buddhist tradition of Philosophy
  2. Express and expound views and pre-suppositions of Buddhist philosophers clearly and lucidly;
  3. Understand and critically evaluate theories, arguments and presuppositions of Buddhist philosophers

Indicative Assessment

Tutorial Participation (10%) (LO 2,3)

First Essay (800 words) (20%) (LO 1-3)

Second Essay (2,000 words) (40%) (LO 1-3)

Final Take-Home Examination (72 hrs) (30%) (LO 1-3)

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2 hrs lectures per teaching week (26 hours total). 1 hour of tutorial for 12 teaching weeks (12 hours total). 92 hours of independent reading plus preparation of assessment tasks over the teaching semester (total 130 hours)

Requisite and Incompatibility

12 units of Philosophy (PHIL) courses, or 6 units of Philosophy (PHIL) course plus ASIA2251, or with permission of the course convener.

Preliminary Reading

Mark Siderits, Buddhism as Philosophy, Ashgate, 2007




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $2604
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $3576
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3684 20 Jul 2015 07 Aug 2015 31 Aug 2015 30 Oct 2015 In Person N/A

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