Photo of Melanie Coughlin

Melanie Coughlin

Contract Instructor

Degrees:BHum (Carleton University), MA (University of Ottawa), PhD (McGill University)
Website:Dr Coughlin's Website


Melanie is a scholar of Buddhist philosophy and the history of European philosophy. Thematically, her research focuses on conceptions of affect, especially with respect to its relevance for the philosophy of history, standpoint theory, ethics and the philosophy of religion. Melanie is particularly interested in applying historical research to issues affecting women and disabled people today. Since her research has an international scope, it is informed by the post-colonial history of ideas.

Melanie earned a Bachelor of the Humanities with a Concentration in Philosophy from Carleton University, which included a year of exchange to Leuven’s Higher Institute of Philosophy. She went on to participate in the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme, earn a Master’s in Philosophy at the University of Ottawa, a Japanese Ministry of Education scholarship for research at Kansai University, Osaka, a doctoral fellowship from the Japan Foundation for research at Kyoto University and a PhD in Philosophy at McGill University. Her PhD thesis, “Realizing Wisdom and Compassion Through Nishitani’s Notion of the Emptiness in Affect,” examines the development of a 20th century Japanese philosopher’s creative combination of a notion of emptiness from classical Mahāyāna Buddhism with notions of affect from modern European philosophy.

Winter 2022

RELI 3420 – Early Buddhism

Fall 2022

RELI 2410 – Buddhism

Winter 2023

FYSM A Special Topics in Philosophy: What We Argue About – Uprooting Contemporary Debates Using the History of Philosophy

Selected Publications

(forthcoming 2024) “Nishitani Keiji’s ‘The Duty of Critique and the Problem of Fascism:’ Translation and Introduction.” In Global Philosophy: A Sourcebook. Edited by Mohammed Rustom. Sheffield: Equinox Publishing.

“The Nihilism of Idealism in Nishitani’s and Nietzsche’s Passionate Thinking of History” Journal of Nietzsche Studies 54.1 (Spring 2023), 102-132.

“A Translation of Kyoto School Philosopher Keta Masako’s ‘The Problem of Evil in Pure Land Buddhism’” with Jessica L. Main and Melissa Anne-Marie Curley. Philosophy East & West 67:1 (January 2017): 192-228.

西谷の宗教に対するリアリゼーシオンと根源的な悪の自覚” (Nishitani’s Realization of Religion and the Elemental Awareness of Evil) 西田哲学会年報第9 (9th Annual Publication of the Nishida Philosophy Association’s Proceedings) (July 2012): 110-118.