32nd Annual Selfridge Lecture

Graham Priest, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the CUNY Graduate Center and Boyce Gibson Professor Emeritus at the University of Melbourne, delivered the 32nd Annual Selfridge Lecture in Philosophy on April 11, 2016. The Lecture was on “Marxism and Buddhism: Not So Strange Bedfellows.”


Marxism and Buddhism might seem unlikely bedfellows. However, they have at least this much in common. Both say that contemporary life is unsatisfactory. Both have a diagnosis of why this is. Both offer hope of making it better. Buddhism has always been strong on ethics, its ground and its rationale; generally speaking, it is weak on political theory. By contrast, Marxism has always been strong on political theory, but weak on an articulation of ethics. In his lecture, Dr. Priest explained how aspects of Buddhist ethics and aspects of Marx’ critique of capitalism are mutually complementary and can be combined to produce a much more rounded picture.


Dr. Priest was in residence in the Lehigh the week of April 11-15, giving a daily seminar with the Philosophy faculty and presenting a second lecture on April 13 on "Philosophy and its History."


Dr. Priest received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the London School of Economics in 1974.  After teaching for 12 years at the University of Western Australia, he took up the chair of philosophy at the University of Queensland, and after 12 years there, he moved again to take up the Boyce Gibson Chair of Philosophy at Melbourne University, where he is now emeritus.  While he was there, he was a Fellow of Ormond College.  During the Melbourne years, he was also an Arché Professorial Fellow at the University of St Andrews. He is a past president of the Australasian Association for Logic, and the Australasian Association of Philosophy, of which he was Chair of Council for 13 years. He was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities in 1995, and awarded a Doctor of Letters by the University of Melbourne in 2002. In 2009 he took up the position of Distinguished Professor at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, where he now lives and works.


Dr. Priest has published in nearly every leading logic and philosophy journal. At the last count, he had published about 240 papers, six monographs (mostly with Oxford University Press), as well as a number of edited collections. Much of his work has been in logic, especially non-classical logic, and related areas. He is perhaps best known for his work on dialetheism, the view that some contradictions are true. However, he has also published widely in many other areas, such as metaphysics, Buddhist philosophy, and the history of philosophy, both East and West.  His books include: In Contradiction: A Study of the Transconsistent, Martinus Nijhoff 1987 (2nd edition: Oxford University Press 2006); Beyond the Limits of Thought, Cambridge University Press 1995 (2nd edition: Oxford University Press 2002); Towards Non-Being: the Semantics and Metaphysics of Intentionality, Oxford University Press 2005; Doubt Truth to be a Liar, Oxford University Press 2006; Introduction to Non-Classical Logic Form If to Is, Cambridge University Press 2008; One, Oxford university Press 2014. Dr. Priest has lectured and addressed conferences in every continent except Antarctica.


For a complete list of the Selfridge Lecturers, click here.

End Date: 
Monday, October 31, 2016 - 00:00