'Anātman and Philosophy' Conference – Registration and Programme

Organised by alicehank winham, Aamir Kaderbhai and Kassandra Dugi

The increasing inclusion of Buddhist philosophy in Philosophy Departments and its growing presence in the mainstream public consciousness have opened up important and intriguing new avenues for dialogue between past and present Buddhist and contemporary non-Buddhist philosophy. Nevertheless, we must question our tendency to interpret Buddhist philosophies according to and, even if unintentionally, in forced conformation with non-Buddhist frameworks, paradigms, and perspectives.

The 'Anātman and Philosophy' Conference aims to reassess our understandings of Buddhist philosophy and the contemporary discourse it inspires by focusing on a central concept in Buddhism: ‘anātman’. It emphasises the importance of exacting what anātman entails according to different thinkers and debates and with an understanding of the cultural, intellectual, and philosophical milieu in which it arose. By rethinking our interpretations of the central Buddhist teaching of anātman and related concepts, as well as its application to issues in contemporary philosophy, Anātman and Philosophy’ offers space for reflection on the nature of our current engagements with Indian philosophies.


More information about the conference is available on the conference website.


In-Person Registration

Registration for in-person attendance can be found here.

Registration Fees:

  • Regular full conference registration – £20
  • Concession (students & under 25s) full conference registration – £10
  • Regular day registration – £8 per day
  • Concession (students & under 25s) day registration – £4 per day

The registration fee includes a drink reception on Friday, 3 November, and lunch and tea/coffee on Saturday, 4 November and Sunday, 5 November. If the prices pose a problem to your attendance, please contact us at anatmanconference@gmail.com.

Please note that tickets for in-person attendance are strictly limited due to venue capacity.


Online Registration

Registration for online attendance can be found here.

Online registration is free and there is no capacity limit for online attendance.


  • Prof Diwakar Acharya (University of Oxford)
  • Shree Nahata (University of Oxford)
  • Prof Maria Heim (Crosby Professor of Religion, Amherst College)
  • Dr Pyi Kyaw (Senior Lecturer in Theravada Studies, Shan State Buddhist University, Myanmar)
  • Dr Avram Alpert (The New Institute)
  • Dr Amrita Nanda (Lecturer, Centre of Buddhist Studies, University of Hong Kong)
  • Dr Mikel Burley (University of Leeds)
  • Prof Christopher V Jones (Assistant Professor in Buddhist Studies, University of Vienna)
  • Dr Amber Carpenter (Yale-NUS, Singapore)
  • Dr Jingjing Li (Leiden University)
  • Prof Douglas Duckworth (Professor of Religion, Temple University)
  • Dr Karen O’Brien-Kop (Lecturer in Modern Asian Religions, King’s College London)
  • Dr Bronwyn Finnigan (Australian National University)
  • Dr Szilvia Szanyi, Departmental Lecturer in Buddhism (University of Oxford)
  • Justin P. Holder (University of Oxford)
  • Prof Simon P. James (Durham University)
  • Dr Katie Javanaud (Associate Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics)
  • Prof Francisca Cho (Professor of Buddhist Studies, Georgetown University)
  • Prof Smita Sirker (Professor of Philosophy, Jawaharlal Nehru University)
  • Fay Lee (ReMA student, KU Leuven)
  • Wintor L. Scott (PhD Student, Princeton University)
  • Eng Jin Ooi (Early Career Researcher; College of Religious Studies, Mahidol University)


Please note the current programme is provisional and subject to change.


Day 1 (Friday, 3 November)

Talbot Hall, Lady Margaret Hall

Registration & Welcome
14:00-14:20: Registration
14:20-14:50: Welcome


14:50-15:40: Keynote – Prof Diwakar Acharya, ‘What the Buddha negated? How and why?’ with questions from Shree Nahata
15:40-15:50: Keynote Q&A


Graduate Panel
Chair: Prof Alex Watson
15:50-16:05: Introductory Speech by Alex Watson
16:05-16:35: Fay Lee, ‘Anātman, the Minimal Self, and Ethics’
16:35-17:05: Wintor L. Scott, ‘Sacrificium ficio, ergo sum: Kumārila and the Yogācāra in the ātmavāda section (31-73) of the Ślokavārttika
17:05-17:35: Eng Jin Ooi, ‘Question on going to the world beyond and the Pāli term akatavidha in addressing what reconnects from one life to the next – A dialogue preserved solely in the Siamese Milindapañha


17:35-18:30: Drinks Reception


Day 2 (Saturday, 4 November)

Seminar Room, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford

Anātman: From ‘No-Self’ to ‘Selflessness’?
Chair: Kassandra Dugi
10:00-10:40: Dr Christopher Jones, ‘A Buddha as One’s Self – Philosophical Reflections on Buddhist Selfhood in Indian Mahāyāna Literature’
10:40-11:20: Dr Amber Carpenter, ‘Transformation Through Knowing Impersonal Reality’

11:20-11:50: Coffee Break


Cetanā: Collecting & Animating Mental Factors at the Three Doorways
Chair: Dr Andrew Skilton
11:50-12:30: Prof Maria Heim, ‘Pali moral phenomenology of intention and agency’ (online)
12:30-13:10: Dr Pyi Kyaw, ‘Title TBC’ (online)

13:10-14:10: Lunch


Punarjanman: Rebirth
Chair: TBC
14:10-14:50: Dr Avram Alpert, ‘Rebirth, Modernity, and Contemporary Literature’ (online)
14:50-15:30: Dr Amrita Nanda, ‘Doctrine of Non-self and Rebirth in Early Buddhism’
15:30-16:10: Dr Mikel Burley, ‘Making sense of genocide? Further reflections on retributive karma and the problem of blaming the victim’

16:10-16:30: Coffee Break


Yogācāra, cittamātra, & vijñaptimātra: Idealism, Phenomenology, or Mind-only?
Chair: Jacob Mortimer

16:30-17:10: Dr Jingjing Li, ‘The Problem of Essence in Buddhist Phenomenology’
17:10-17:50: Prof Douglas Duckworth, ‘Thinking Through Yogācāra Philosophy’


Day 3 (Sunday, 5 November)

Seminar Room, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford

Smṛti: Mindfulness, Meditation, & Moral Perception
Chair: Aamir Kaderbhai
10:00-10:40: Dr Karen O’Brien-Kop, ‘An examination of memory (smṛti) in the Pātañjalayogaśāstra alongside Buddhist practices of recollection and abiding awareness’
10:40-11:20: Dr Bronwyn Finnigan, ‘The Fearing Self: Putting Anātman into Dialogue with Emotion Research’

11:20-11:50: Coffee Break


Svabhāva: Logic & Grounding
Chair: Jacob Fisher
11:50-12:30: Dr Szilvia Szanyi, ‘Sthiramati on the foundational status and transformation of consciousness’
12:30-13:10: Justin Holder, ‘Anātman as a Convention’

13:10-14:10: Lunch


Sattva: Sentience & Environmental Ethics
Chair: Natasha Chawla
14:10-14:50: Prof Simon P. James, ‘Nature and suffering’
14:50-15:30: Dr Katie Javanaud, ‘Buddhism and Biodiversity’

15:30-15:50: Coffee Break


Śūnyatā: Zero – Philosophy of Maths & Physics
Chair: alicehank winham
15:50-16:30: Prof Francisca Cho, ‘The Cosmology of Absence: The Meta-Signification of Zero’
16:30-17:10: Prof Smita Sirker, ‘Śūnyatā: A Metaphysics of Nothingness via the Epistemic Category of Absence’


17:10-17:50: Closing Remarks


Anātman and Philosophy’ is organised in collaboration with Philiminality Oxford and generously supported by the British Society for the History of Philosophy, Oxford Faculty of Philosophy, Oxford Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (Radhakrishnan Memorial Bequest), Oxford Faculty of Theology and Religion, Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (Narasimhacharya Bursary) and The Spalding Trust.