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Szymon Bogacz

Background:
Szymon is a PhD student in the School of Philosophy, Australian National University. His education started in Ugorek (Kraków) during Polish political transformation of the 90’s. As a teenager, he backpacked around Asia and developed an interest in Indian and Chinese cultures. This interest led him to study philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy, Jagiellonian University (2008-2013). After finishing his MA, feeling torn between Buddhist Studies and Philosophy, he eventually decided to pursue the latter. He now lives, researches, and teaches in Canberra, Australia.

Research:
Szymon believes that employing insights from Buddhist philosophy can help further philosophical questions we face today. His current research focuses on logical paradoxes. He analyses what a Buddhist philosopher Dharmakīrti says about logic, contradictions, and evidence. In his thesis, Szymon argues that the liar paradox poses epistemological problems that can be successfully addressed using Buddhist theories. You can read more about Szymon’s recent research in this blog post.

Teaching:
Szymon was lecturing and tutoring at Jagiellonian University and Australian National University in Philosophy and Buddhist Studies programs. He designed and conveyed ‘Buddhist Philosophy’ (2021) and ‘Buddhist Teaching about Mind’ (2015) courses. He tutored for ‘Philosophy of Mind’ (ongoing), ‘Buddhist Philosophy’ (2020-2021), ‘Buddhist Epistemology’ (2013-2015), and the ‘History of Mahāyāna Buddhism’ (2014).

Awards:
Szymon’s work has been awarded 2019 Postgraduate Presentation First Prize by the Australasian Association of Philosophy (with Ross Pain); 2018 Australian National University Research Scholarship (International); 2016 Graduate Essay Contest First Prize by the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy; and 2013 Best MA Thesis on Eastern Philosophy Prize by Jagiellonian University.

You can download Szymon’s CV here.

Beside philosophy, Szymon likes football, hiking, and contemporary art.

Contact Szymon at: szymon.bogacz@anu.edu.au / Facebook / Twitter / PhilPeople / Academia.edu

Papers:

(feel free to contact Szymon if you are interested in reading any of the manuscripts)

Buddhist epistemology and the liar paradox (8 000 words), under review. Abstract: The liar paradox is still an open philosophical problem. Most contemporary solutions to the paradox target the logical rules underlying the reasoning from the liar sentence to the paradoxical conclusion that the liar sentence is both true and false. In contrast to these approaches, Buddhist epistemology offers resources to devise a distinctively epistemological approach to the liar paradox. In this paper, I mobilise these resources and argue that the liar sentence is what Buddhist epistemologists call a contradiction with one’s own words. I situate my argument in the works of Dignāga and Dharmakīrti and show how Buddhist epistemology answers the paradox.

Dharmakīrtian Inference (co-authored with Koji Tanaka, 9 000 words), under review. Abstract: The Buddhist philosopher Dharmakīrti (6th-7th CE) argues that there is no pramāṇa (valid means of knowledge) for a thesis that is a self-contradiction (svavacanavirodha). That is, self-contradictions such as ‘everything said is false’ and ‘my mother is barren’ cannot be known to be true or false. The contemporary scholar Tillemans challenges Dharmakīrti by arguing that we can know that self-contradictions are false by means of a formal logical inference. The aims of the paper are to answer Tillemans’ challenge from what we take to be Dharmakīrti’s or Dharmakīrtian (someone who is like Dharmakīrti) perspective and to demonstrate the unique features of Dharmakīrti’s view of inference. By so doing, the paper presents Dharmakīrti’s view of inference and logical reasoning that is free of the dominant contemporary conception; however, it also shows that the view is defensible in the context of contemporary literature on the philosophy of logic.

The epistemological program (6 000 words), under review. Abstract: How can we choose between paracomplete (gappy) and paraconsistent (glutty) evaluations of paradoxical sentences? Standardly, whether a paradoxical sentence is a truth-value gap or a truth-value glut depends on what is the only correct logic and we figure out which logic is the only correct logic on abductive grounds. However, as I argue in this paper, this method of evaluating paradoxical sentences faces serious problems. In the face of these problems, I propose an alternative method of evaluating paradoxical sentences: the epistemological program. According to the epistemological program, a paradoxical sentence is a gap if evidence for this sentence is incomplete and a glut if evidence conflicts. After detailing what incomplete and conflicting evidence is, I argue that whether the liar sentence is a gap or a glut depends on what evidence exists for the liar sentence.

Dwelling in epistemic hell (8 500 words), manuscript. Abstract: I argue that believing contradictions in situations of equal evidential support is permissible because it is logically and probabilistically harmless. I explain what contradictory beliefs are and how they cohere with logic and probability theory. Finally, I argue that believing contradictions is not only harmless, but that we should believe that and not-if our evidence supports and not-to the same degree.

Epistemology in the Aṣṭasāhasrikāprajñāpāramitā and in Nāgārjuna’s middle way (10 pages, in Polish), 2015, Studia Humanistyczne AGH 3 (14): 7-16, download

A critical approach to the dialectical interpretation of Nāgārjuna’s philosophy (20 pages, in Polish), 2014, Diametros 42, 227-246, download