Hans W. Gruenig, Ph.D.
Department of Philosophy /
Asian Studies Program
Tulane University


Photo taken at the 21st Century Heidegger International Conference in Dublin, Ireland
where I presented a paper on "Heidegger, Ambiguity, and Context"

"Gebser and Buddhism: Nonduality and Aperspectivity in Theory and Practice," Keynote Presentation for the 48th Annual Conference of the International Jean Gebser Society, Naropa University, Boulder (2018).

Reclaiming Sensual Pleasure and Conditional Happiness in Theravada Buddhism," Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy Panel, American Philosophical Association Central Meeting (February, 2013).

"Heidegger, Ambiguity, and Context," 21st Century Heidegger International Conference, Dublin, Ireland (2010)

"Buddhist Emptiness and Physical Realism: Nagel, Putnam, and Madhyamaka," Western Emptiness Seminar, New York City (2008).

"Buddhism and Environmental Ethics," an invited presentation for the Religion and Environment Panel at the Focus the Nation Conference, New Orleans (2008).

"Buddhist Ethics and Just War Theory: On whether war can be justified from within Buddhist ethical systems,” Annual Conference of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy, Asilomar (2004).

"Mental Synthesis in Hume, Kant, and Theravada Buddhism: On whether the theory of mind moments found in Theravadan sources such as the Abhidhammatha-Sangaha is susceptible to the same critique of mental synthesis that Kant applied to Hume," Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy Panel, American Academy of Religion Meeting, Denver (2001).

"Jhanasis: Meditation and Creation. Momentary noetic cosmogenesis, Genesis 1-4, and the Aggañña Sutta in light of the phenomenology of meditation as it is detailed in the Pali Canon," 4th Intl. Research Conference of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy, University of Missouri-Columbia (2000).

"Postmodernism and Environmental Ethics: Deconstruction is a Double-Edged Sword," (with Michael Zimmerman) at Tulane's Interdisciplinary Scholars Network lecture series "The Local and the Global" (1999).

"On The Locus of Meaning: Disembodied Phenomenology, Embodied Phenomenology, and Existential Neurobiology," at the CIIS Philosophy and Religion Round Table (1998).

Dissertation Abstract

Heidegger and Personal Transformation: Through Death To Life.
Dissertation Director: Michael E. Zimmerman, Ph.D.

In this text, I use an analysis of ambiguities in Heidegger's discussions of ontological death in Being and Time as a point of departure for an interpretation of transformative and nondual aspects of Heidegger's philosophy. I begin by arguing on the basis of careful intratextual and intertextual considerations that Being and Time is unresolvably ambiguous regarding the relation of ontological death to literal death. Rather than rejecting Heidegger's text on the basis of this ambiguity, I look to Heidegger's biographical and intellectual contexts for clues regarding the role of death in his thinking. I show Heidegger's proximity to intellectual and spiritual narratives -- including texts from Christianity, Western philosophy, Buddhism, and Taoism -- in which death is a metaphor and/or a catalyst for radical personal transformation. I show how Heidegger is aligned with such transformative traditions and how contemporary academic readers may bring to Heidegger's texts philosophical aims and methods which are unwittingly misaligned with Heidegger's own aims and methods. In order to illuminate such potential methodological gaps, I examine diversity in conceptions of and approaches to philosophy and develop provisional notions of trans-theoretical philosophy, extra-theoretical philosophical goods, transformative philosophy, interstructural transformation, and interstructural dysgnosia. I then show that Heidegger saw a particular kind of transformation as paramount in his own philosophy -- a transformation which goes beyond the theoretical and representational thinking which characterizes most contemporary philosophy. Finally, I develop a nondual reading of several transformative themes in Heidegger's philosophy and argue that ambiguity is unavoidable given some of Heidegger's transformative philosophical aims and methods. I conclude that Heidegger uses ambiguity to help inquirers to transcend representational thinking and to access the non-theoretical clarity of ontological self-transparency which arises in a transformative, nondual recognition of the clearing of Being.