Garrison – Hickman, Buddhism, and Algorithmic Technology

Jim Garrison

Virginia Tech

This paper provides further reflections on my dialogue with Larry Hickman, director emeritus of the Center for Dewey Studies, and Daisaku Ikeda, president of the lay Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai International (SGI). The most surprising outcome of this dialogue is how similar Deweyan pragmatism is to many forms of Mahayana Buddhism including Nichiren Buddhism the source of SGI. I have explored some of these similarities elsewhere. Here I survey additional similarities in terms of Hickman’s philosophy of technology by emphasizing value creation and criticism. (Soka Gakkai means value creating society.) I explore Peter D. Herschock’s, Buddhism and Intelligent Technology relying on Hickman to rectify Herschock’s philosophy of technology before discussing Herschock’s insightful application of Buddhist ethics to AI and the internet. I conclude by identifying many of Herschock’s Buddhist principles in Dewey’s theory of inquiry and thereby showing how they reside implicitly within Hickman’s philosophy of technology.

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