Jake Davis

Habits of Attention

“Marlboro helped me to integrate my personal and academic interests—in training good habits of attention—into a more coherent whole,” says Jake Davis '03, who did his World Studies internship studying meditation in a Burmese monastery. “In a certain way, that’s still what I’m working on, though with an increasingly broad range of practices and cultures.” Since November, Jake has been working as a postdoctoral associate with New York University’s Virtues of Attention project, which investigates attention from cross-cultural philosophical perspectives.

“My job is to cultivate a network of researchers working on this topic, hold workshops across NYU’s global network, and edit publications that will include philosophical contributions from Buddhist, Indian, Chinese, Islamic, Jewish, ancient Greek, African, indigenous American, Polynesian, and Australian perspectives.”

Before his work at NYU, Jake was an adjunct professor for the Contemplative Studies Concentration at Brown University, teaching Buddhist Ethical Theory, Theory and Practice of Buddhist Meditation, and Meditation and the Brain. He earned his master’s degree in philosophy at University of Hawai’i, and then a PhD at City University of New York, concentrating on the role of mindful attention in ethics.

“My favorite part of the NYU job is engaging with so many really interesting people, and talking and thinking with them beyond and around my own Buddhist and Western perspectives on things,” says Jake. “I still think of things Jet Thomas and Lynette Rummel said to me all those years ago. Some of their questions I have better answers for now; some not so much.”