Portrait of Geoffrey Ashton, Zen Instructor at the Institute for Zen Leadership

Geoffrey Ashton

Zen Instructor

Professor Geoffrey Ashton recently joined the Department of Philosophy at USF from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, where he also held an appointment as Assistant Professor of Asian Philosophy. Prof. Ashton has studied Sanskrit, Thai, and Spanish, and conducted research at numerous institutions of higher learning abroad (twice as a Fulbright scholar), including Jawaharlal Nehru University (Delhi, India), Deccan College (Pune, India), the Jñāna-Pravaha Institute (Varanasi, India), Chiang Mai University (Chiang Mai, Thailand), Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok, Thailand), and La Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Madrid, Spain). He has also been invited to present his research in India, Thailand, China, Singapore, Austria, Iceland, Poland, and England.

He has authored numerous articles, book chapters, and essays on Indian Philosophy, Buddhist Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, Comparative Ethics, and Comparative Aesthetics. He currently has three main research agendas: Indian Philosophy of Religion, Buddhist Philosophy and Comparative Ethics, and Comparative Aesthetics.

He is currently revising a manuscript titled, Whose Suffering? Whose Freedom? A Phenomenological Reconstruction of the Philosophy of the Sāṃkhya Kārikā (under review). Interpreting Classical Sāṃkhya philosophy through the lens of José Ortega y Gasset’s existential phenomenology, this book attempts to shed new light on the interrelation between the traditional Indian concepts of suffering, freedom, selfhood, and action.

A second and on-going research agenda draws upon Geoff’s background in Buddhist philosophy, Thai Studies, and Thai language. Tentatively titled, “From No-Self to Social Agency: A Thai Buddhist Approach to Social Engagement,” this project examines the theoretical underpinnings and practical manifestations of a Thai Buddhist vision of social engagement. Among other funding agencies, this project has been supported by “The Project of Empowering Network for International Thai Studies” (Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand).

A third research agenda explores cultural and disciplinary variation in thinking through mimesis (Sanskrit: anukṛti). Sponsored by the Fulbright Scholar Program, this project draws upon debates within Indian aesthetics, art history, postcolonial theories of art, and Western mimetic theory, in order to argue that Indian philosophers of art frequently rejected mimesis as an artistic ideal due to its perceived implications for a dualistic metaphysics.