B R I A N    J.    B R U Y A







Professor of Philosophy
Eastern Michigan University








I am Professor of Philosophy in the Philosophy Section of the E.M.U. Department of History and Philosophy, and I am Center Associate in the University of Michigan's Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies.  

My specialties are Chinese and comparative philosophy, the philosophy and cognitive science of action, and aesthetics.

My teaching interests include early Chinese philosophy, Asian philosophy, philosophy of mind, philosophy of action,  philosophy of life, philosophy of religion, and American Pragmatism.  

My training was in Chinese and comparative philosophy at the University of Hawai'i, the world's gravitational center for comparative philosophy.  My advisor was Roger Ames, and my dissertation committee included: Eliot Deutsch, Arindam Chakrabarti, Graham Parkes, David McCraw, and Robert Solomon (University of Texas).

For the school year 2012-13, I was Fulbright Scholar in the Philosophy Department of National Taiwan University.

For periods from 2005-2007, I was Templeton Senior Fellow at and then associated with the Medici II conferences at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Positive Psychology, where I worked with Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi and Jeanne Nakamura.    

I began my philosophy career at the University of Washington, studying with Kenneth Clatterbaugh, Ronald Moore, Charles Marks, Karl Potter, and Arindam Chakrabarti (visiting).  

My training in modern and Classical Chinese was at the Stanford Center (located then at National Taiwan University), the Mandarin Training Center (National Taiwan Normal University), and the University of Washington (where I was initially introduced to Chinese and comparative philosophy through studies with Chun-chieh Huang 黃俊傑 (visiting from National Taiwan University),
Karl Potter, Arindam Chakrabarti, Vrinda Dalmiya, Jerry Norman, and William Boltz).

In 2000, I was selected to attend a two-week Chinese paleography institute at the University of Chicago, studying under Edward Shaughnessy, Donald Harper, Qiu Xigui 裘錫圭, and Wang Bo 王博.

I nurtured a love for Chinese art during a year as resident translator of
exhibitions and academic articles in the Antiquities Department of the National Palace Museum, Taiwan.

I also have an abiding interest in translation.  My translations of Chih-chung Tsai's 蔡志忠 critically-acclaimed comic book series on Chinese philosophy have been published by Princeton and Knopf.  

I am a contributor to the Warp, Weft, and Way blog.

I am an occassional reviewer/referee for:
  • Consciousness & Cognition
  • Philosophy East and West
  • Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy
  • State University of New York Press
  • American Psychological Association Dictionary of Psychology
  • The John Templeton Foundation

I am currently program chair for the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy's panels at the Eastern Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association.

And I am a member of the American Philosophical Association's Committee on Asian and Asian-American Philosophers and Philosophies



Effortless Attention
Effortless Attention

A New Perspective in the Cognitive Science of Attention and Action
MIT Press, 2010
"A challenge to the naïve but prevailing notion of a central executive, somewhere in the frontal lobe or its vicinity, dishing out the orders to the rest of the brain and controlling every cognitive function, from attention on up. Evidently, cognitive functions, notably attention, can operate efficiently and effortlessly on the margins of consciousness. Attention and performance are inextricable from the perception-action cycle, where there is no true causal origin and consciousness is merely a phenomenon--and in fact can be an impediment. The evidence presented in Effortless Attention makes ample room for priming, intuition, gut-feeling, automatism, and other hidden but very real unconscious brain powers behind decision-making and the pursuit of goals." 
Joaquín M. Fuster, Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, author of 
The Prefrontal Cortex

"The editor has succeeded in putting the phenomenon of effortless attention on the interdisciplinary research agenda, which will hopefully inspire more research and lead to a deeper understanding of what attention actually is."
Artem Belopolsky, Quarterly Review of Biology


Updated August 2015
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