This page contains the second half of the talks and discussions from day 1 of the Middle Way Study Retreat in August 2013. In the first half, on the Buddhism and the Middle Way Audio page, the Middle Way was introduced in relation to Buddhism. In this section its core ideas are introduced in their own right, including the ideas of the Middle Way as the avoidance of metaphysics, as objectivity, as addressing conditions, as scepticism, as the basis of ethics and as a universal principle.
1. Objectivity and conditions
This introduces the idea of the Middle Way as a way of achieving (incremental) objectivity by addressing conditions. These ideas will be explored in more detail in the day 4 materials.
1. Objectivity and conditions as audio only:
This section explains the relationship between the Middle Way and Pyrrhonian (agnostic) scepticism. This type of scepticism involves the avoidance of both positive and negative metaphysical beliefs, but does not threaten reasonable judgements, only certainty.
2. Scepticism as audio only:
3. The basis of ethics
How the Middle Way provides moral objectivity and avoids relativism. Followed by discussion.
3. The basis of ethics as audio only:
4. Its Universality
The implications of the Middle Way being justified by experience independently of Buddhist tradition. Why there is only one Middle Way and whether we should rely on that metaphor.
4. Universality as audio only:
Download Audio: 1_7 What is the Middle Way 4 Universality
5. Religion without metaphysics?
Is it possible to separate the metaphysical elements of religion from the other useful elements? A detailed discussion that took place after the talk.
5. Religion without metaphysics? as audio only:
Download audio: 1_8_Religion_without_metaphysics
6. What is metaphysics? Introductory discussion
How can we identify metaphysics? This discussion offers some initial key features.
6. What is metaphysics? as audio only:
Download audio: What is metaphysics? Introductory discussion