Buddhist Ethics

Edited by Jake H. Davis (New York University)
Assistant editor: Carissa Véliz (University of Oxford, University of Oxford)
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  1. Three Principles of Buddhist Ethics. Free Will, the Power of Reason and Bodhicitta.Maša Gedrich - unknown - Phainomena 72.
    Buddhist ethics is essentially determined by a striving for liberation of suffering and for the lasting happiness of Buddhahood. As all phenomena, happiness and suffering are subject to the law of cause and effect, one therefore attains happiness through generating the causes of it and abandoning the causes of suffering. In his or her liberation, a being does not depend on external being but on his or her own mental abilities, which include responsibility and critical thinking. The Buddha Nature is (...)
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  2. Merit Transference and the Paradox of Merit Inflation.Matthew Hammerton - forthcoming - Journal of Value Inquiry:1-18.
    Many ethical systems hold that agents earn merit and demerit through their good and bad deeds. Some of these ethical systems also accept merit transference, allowing merit to be transferred, in certain circumstances, from one agent to another. In this article, I argue that there is a previously unrecognized paradox for merit transference involving a phenomenon I call “merit inflation”. With a particular focus on Buddhist ethics, I then look at the options available for resolving this paradox. I conclude that (...)
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  3. Dispositions, Virtues, and Indian Ethics.Andrea Raimondi & Ruchika Jain - forthcoming - Journal of Religious Ethics.
    Dhand argues that Indian ethics is “reminiscent of the genre of virtue ethics developed in the West”, and that “one could argue that all Indian ethics have been primarily virtue ethics” (2002:358). Many have indeed jumped on the virtue bandwagon, providing prima facie interpretations of the Hindu, the Jain, and the Buddhist canon in virtue terms. Yet others have expressed firm skepticism. They claim that virtues are not proven to be grounded in the nature of things, nor they are unified (...)
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  4. Attention as Practice: Buddhist Ethics Responses to Persuasive Technologies.Gunter Bombaerts, Joel Anderson, Matthew Dennis, Alessio Gerola, Lily Frank, Tom Hannes, Jeroen Hopster, Lavinia Marin & Andreas Spahn - 2023 - Global Philosophy 33 (2):1-16.
    The “attention economy” refers to the tech industry’s business model that treats human attention as a commodifiable resource. The libertarian critique of this model, dominant within tech and philosophical communities, claims that the persuasive technologies of the attention economy infringe on the individual user’s autonomy and therefore the proposed solutions focus on safeguarding personal freedom through expanding individual control. While this push back is important, current societal debates on the ethics of persuasive technologies are informed by a particular understanding of (...)
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  5. Wholesome Mind Ethics: A Buddhist Paradigm.Jonathan C. Gold - 2023 - Journal of Value Inquiry 57 (4):607-624.
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  6. Buddhism and Utilitarianism.Calvin Baker - 2022 - An Introduction to Utilitarianism.
    This article considers the relationship between utilitarianism and the ethics of Early Buddhism and classical Indian Mahāyāna Buddhism. Section 2 discusses normative ethics. I argue (i) that Early Buddhist ethics is not utilitarian and (ii) that despite the many similarities between utilitarianism and Mahāyāna ethics, it is at best unclear whether Mahāyāna ethics is consequentialist in structure. Section 2 closes by reconstructing the Buddhist understanding of well-being and contrasting it to hedonism. -/- Section 3 focuses on applied ethics. I suggest (...)
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  7. Karma, Moral Responsibility and Buddhist Ethics.Bronwyn Finnigan - 2022 - In Manuel Vargas & John Doris (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Moral Psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 7-23.
    The Buddha taught that there is no self. He also accepted a version of the doctrine of karmic rebirth, according to which good and bad actions accrue merit and demerit respectively and where this determines the nature of the agent’s next life and explains some of the beneficial or harmful occurrences in that life. But how is karmic rebirth possible if there are no selves? If there are no selves, it would seem there are no agents that could be held (...)
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  8. Bloom: Buddhist Reflections on Serenity and Love by, Ajahn Sona. [REVIEW]Chandima Gangodawila - 2022 - Canadian Journal of Buddhist Studies 17:1-11.
    Ajahn Sona, Bloom: Buddhist Reflections on Serenity and Love. Ottawa, Ontario: Sumeru Press Inc, 2020. 144 pp. CAN $24.95 (pb). ISBN 978-1-89655-960-5.
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  9. Superiority Conceit in Buddhist Traditions: A Historical Perspective, by Bhikkhu Analayo. [REVIEW]Chandima Gangodawila - 2022 - Buddhist Studies Review 39 (1):158-163.
    Superiority Conceit in Buddhist Traditions: A Historical Perspective, by Bhikkhu Analayo. Wisdom Publications, 2021. 184pp. Hb. $24.95, ISBN-13: 9781614297192; Ebook $12.99, ISBN-10:1614297193.
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  10. The Employment and Significance of the Kauśīdyavīryotsāhanāvadāna ( The Indolent’s Valor and Courage) in Buddhist Traditions.” International Journal of Buddhist Thought & Culture.Chandima Gangodawila - 2022 - International Journal of Buddhist Thought and Culture 32 (1):183–242..
    In this article, I argue that the Kauśīdyavīryotsāhanāvadāna of the Ratnamālāvadāna presents six key aspects of the development of Buddhist thought from the Pāli canon to the Sarvāstivāda tradition: childlessness, the arrival of a fetus through the propitiation of gods, presence of heretics, the impact of Buddha’s intervention and a child bodhisattva, soteriological elements of the story’s didactics, and the Buddha’s peculiar smile. These six key aspects were chosen to reflect and explore the content of Sarvāstivādin society and teachings concerning (...)
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  11. Should Buddhists be Social Activists?Ian Kidd - 2022 - Www.Daily-Philosophy.Com.
    This is a three-part popular philosophy article for the Daily Philosophy website. -/- I challenge the 'engaged Buddhist' conviction that social and political activism is consistent with Buddhist teachings. -/- I focus on the Buddha's teachings on compassion and the 'overcoming of suffering' (part one), the kinds of attitudes and actions he endorsed and condemned (part two), and the essentially quietist character of his moral vision (part three). -/- A theme of the discussion is the neglect or dismissal, by modern (...)
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  12. Moral partiality.Yong Li - 2022 - New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
    Situated within the framework of Confucian family-oriented ethics, this book explores the issue of familial partiality and specifically discusses whether it is morally praiseworthy to love one's family partially. In reviewing the tension between familial partiality and egalitarian impartiality from different perspectives while also drawing on binary metrics to understand the issue - that is, the weak and strong sense of familial partiality in Confucian moral theory - the author carefully discusses the efficacy of three major arguments to justify moral (...)
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  13. Buddhist Ethics: A Pragmatist Account.Takaharu Oda - 2022 - Contemporary Pragmatism 19 (3):293-309.
    This article will consider how and why a pragmatist way of thinking is inferred in the Buddhist ethical discourse of curing the sick. This medical analogy, where the Buddha as a medical doctor acts upon the sick, contains a profound implication that the sick need not understand the reason for their sickness, insofar as they are cured or enlightened. What is taken to be pragmatism is critically clarified in this Buddhist context. There being a dissimilarity in terms of the respective (...)
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  14. The other side of nothing: the Zen ethics of time, space, and being.Brad Warner - 2022 - Novato, CA: New World Library.
    A longtime practitioner of Zen Buddhism discusses how the Zen concept of nonduality - the essential unity of all things - forms the basis of Buddhist ethics. The author describes key Buddhist doctrines such as the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, showing their relevance to modern problems.
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  15. Human becomings: theorizing persons for Confucian role ethics.Roger T. Ames - 2021 - Albany: State University of New York Press.
    Offers an in-depth exposition of the Confucian conception of persons as the starting point of Confucian ethics.
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  16. Buddhist Ethics: A Philosophical Exploration.Jay L. Garfield - 2021 - New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
    "'Buddhist Ethics' presents an outline of Buddhist ethical thought. It is not a defense of Buddhist approaches to ethics as opposed to any other, nor is it a critique of the Western tradition. Garfield presents a broad overview of a range of Buddhist approaches to the question of moral philosophy. He argues that while there are important points of contact with these Western frameworks, Buddhist ethics is distinctive, and is a kind of moral phenomenology that is concerned with the ways (...)
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  17. Effective Altruism and Religion: Synergies, Tensions, Dialogue.Stefan Riedener, Dominic Roser & Markus Huppenbauer (eds.) - 2021 - Baden-Baden, Germany: Nomos.
    Effective altruism has become a worldwide phenomenon. The movement combines empathy and reason in the attempt to improve the world. Adherents don’t let moral gut instincts dictate their altruistic efforts, but use evidence and reflection to do the most good they can. Effective altruism originated, and primarily grew, in strongly secular environments—such as philosophy departments or Silicon Valley. So far, a religious perspective on this movement has been lacking. What can people of faith learn from effective altruism? What may they (...)
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  18. Buddhist Ethics And Its Impacts On Modern Time.Shaikh Tajmoon Nahar Tonni - 2021 - Dissertation, University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh
    Buddhism is a unique religious system that is not only considered as a religion to follow but also is a way of attaining enlightenment in life. Buddha shows people a path following which they can reach the ultimate goal that is liberation afterlife. Buddha’s whole approach is going through an ethical system that enriches the human mind with love and wisdom as well as prepares the human body to attain liberation. Buddhism is mainly based on the Buddha’s four noble truths (...)
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  19. Le dimore leggere: saggio sull'etica buddhista.Antonio Vigilante - 2021 - Pistoia: Petite plaisance.
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  20. Seeing Clearly: A Buddhist Guide to Life.Nicolas Bommarito - 2020 - New York, USA: Oxford University Press.
    Many of us, even on our happiest days, struggle to quiet the constant buzz of anxiety in the background of our minds. All kinds of worries--worries about losing people and things, worries about how we seem to others--keep us from peace of mind. Distracted or misled by our preoccupations, misconceptions, and, most of all, our obsession with ourselves, we don't see the world clearly--we don't see the world as it really is. In our search for happiness and the good life, (...)
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  21. Review of Cultivating Virtue: Perspectives from Philosophy, Theology, and Psychology. [REVIEW]Subhasis Chattopadhyay - 2020 - Prabuddha Bharata or Awakened India 125 (6):522-24.
    This is a review of a book which in today's COVID 19 world takes up issues which could have been neglected as meant only for scholars when this book was published. Now with homeschooling and social distancing and race relations going for a toss all over the world; we need to relook virtue and how to cultivate that in our lives and in our children. This review looks at the philosophical, theological and psychological qualia of virtue. For instance, this reviewer (...)
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  22. Zhongguo li xue lun li si xiang tong shi =.Gujia Chen - 2020 - Changsha: Hunan da xue chu ban she.
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  23. Emptiness And Metaethics: Dōgen's Anti-Realist Solution.Russell Guilbault - 2020 - Philosophy East and West:957-976.
    Since Nāgārjuna's proclamation of the emptiness of all things,1 Mahāyāna Buddhism has been faced with the question of how to reconcile emptiness with its commitment to compassion and altruism. While the latter would seem to require the existence of moral facts, the former would seem to destroy any basis for moral facts. In the vocabulary of contemporary metaethics, it would seem that any Buddhist who accepts Nāgārjuna's formulation of emptiness is committed to moral anti-realism,2 but it remains controversial whether anti-realism (...)
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  24. Buddhist Error Theory.Javier Hidalgo - 2020 - Journal of Value Inquiry 55 (1):21-40.
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  25. A Dilemma for Buddhist Reductionism.Javier Hidalgo - 2020 - Philosophy East and West 70 (4):977-998.
    This article develops a dilemma for Buddhist Reductionism that centers on the nature of normative reasons. This dilemma suggests that Buddhist Reductionism lacks the resources to make sense of normative reasons and, furthermore, that this failure may cast doubt on the plausibility of Buddhist Reductionism as a whole.
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  26. An Account of Generous Action and Esteem in Pāli Buddhism.Nicholaos Jones - 2020 - International Journal of Buddhist Thought and Culture 30 (2):195-225.
    I propose an account of generous action in the Pāli Buddhist tradition, whereby generous actions are instances of giving in which the donor has esteem for the recipient of their giving. The account differs from recent Anglophone accounts of generous action. These tend to construe generous actions as instances of a donor freely offering a gift to the recipient for the sake of benefiting the recipient. Unlike the Buddhist account I propose, these accounts do not require donors to esteem their (...)
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  27. Myŏnu Kwak Chong-sŏk ŭi chisik paekkwa Mongŏ.Chong-sŏk Kwak - 2020 - Sŏul T'ŭkpyŏlsi: Aurum. Edited by Hong-gŭn Cho.
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  28. Grief, Love, and Buddhist Resilience.Emer O’Hagan - 2020 - Journal of Value Inquiry 55 (1):41-55.
  29. Sceptical Buddhism as Provenance and Project.James Mark Shields - 2020 - In Oren Hanner (ed.), Buddhism and Scepticism: Historical, Philosophical, and Comparative Perspectives. Freiburg/Bochum: pp. 161-177.
  30. Review of Paving the Great Way: Vasubandhu’s Unifying Buddhist Philosophy. [REVIEW]Subhasis Chattopadhyay - 2019 - Prabuddha Bharata or Awakened India 124 (7):574-6.
    This book distorts Buddhism and is one of a series of books which are not worth reading. This is one of those First World books which get published because someone somewhere wants to appear learned. For example, this review shows why it is both a moral and scholarly failure to compare Vasubandhu or any other serious Buddhist to Berlin's 'fox'. The author of the book, like countless others, through his iterative scholarship, has reduced Buddhism to a farce. Anyone, including this (...)
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  31. Anger and Oppression: A Tantric Buddhist Perspective.Emily McRae - 2019 - In The Moral Psychology of Anger.
  32. White Delusion and Avidyā: A Buddhist Approach to Understanding and Deconstructing White Ignorance.Emily McRae - 2019 - In Buddhism and Whiteness: Critical Reflections.
    In Buddhist contexts, avidyā refers not only to a lack of knowledge but also (and primarily) to an active misapprehension of reality, a warped projection onto reality that reinforces our own dysfunction and vice. Ignorance is rarely innocent; it is not an isolated phenomenon of just-not-happening-to-know-something. It is maintained and reinforced through personal and social habits, including practices of personal and collective false projection, strategic ignoring, and convenient “forgetting.” This view of avidyā has striking similarities to philosophical analyses of white (...)
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  33. Sŏnbi wa ch'ŏngbin.Kyun-sŏp Pak - 2019 - Sŏul-si: Yŏngnak.
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  34. A mirror is for reflection: understanding Buddhist ethics.Bensu Arıcan - 2018 - Comparative and Continental Philosophy 10 (3):287-290.
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  35. Psihologija budističke etike, filozofije i umjetnosti.Esad Bajtal - 2018 - Sarajevo: Kult B.
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  36. Kant, Buddhism, and Self-centered Vice.Bradford Cokelet - 2018 - In Philip J. Ivanhoe, Owen Flanagan, Victoria S. Harrison, Hagop Sarkissian & Eric Schwitzgebel (eds.), The Oneness Hypothesis: Beyond the Boundary of Self. New York, USA: Columbia University Press. pp. 169-191.
    This article discusses the vice of self-centeredness, argues that it inhibits our ability to treat humanity as an end in itself, and that Kantian moral theory cannot account for this fact. After in this way arguing that Kantian theory fails to provide a fully adequate account of agents who live up to the formula of humanity, I discuss Buddhist resources for developing a better account.
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  37. The Oxford Handbook of Buddhist Ethics.Daniel Cozort & James Mark Shields (eds.) - 2018 - New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
    Many forms of Buddhism, divergent in philosophy and style, emerged as Buddhism filtered out of India into other parts of Asia. Nonetheless, all of them embodied an ethical core that is remarkably consistent. Articulated by the historical Buddha in his first sermon, this moral core is founded on the concept of karma--that intentions and actions have future consequences for an individual--and is summarized as Right Speech, Right Action, and Right Livelihood, three of the elements of the Eightfold Path. Although they (...)
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  38. Responsible living: explorations in applied Buddhist ethics-animals, environment, GMOs, digital media.Ronald B. Epstein - 2018 - Ukiah, California: Buddhist Text Translation Society-Dharma Realm Buddhist University.
    The inner ecology: Buddhist ethics and practice -- A Buddhist perspective on animal rights -- Pollution and the environment: some radically new ancient views -- Animals for dinner: a Karmic tale -- Our relationship with nature: a Buddhist exploration -- Environmental issues: a Buddhist perspective -- Human spiritual potential and the environmental crisi -- The need for ethical guidelines to protect us from the very real dangers of a technological world -- Looking at hi-tech through the lens of the five (...)
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  39. Madhyamaka Ethics.Bronwyn Finnigan - 2018 - In Daniel Cozort & James Mark Shields (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Buddhist Ethics. Oxford University Press. pp. 162-183.
    There are two main loci of contemporary debate about the nature of Madhyamaka ethics. The first investigates the general issue of whether the Madhyamaka philosophy of emptiness is consistent with a commitment to systematic ethical distinctions. The second queries whether the metaphysical analysis of no-self presented by Śāntideva in his Bodhicaryāvatāra entails the impartial benevolence of a bodhisattva. This article will critically examine these debates and demonstrate the ways in which they are shaped by competing understandings of Madhyamaka conventional truth (...)
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  40. Ru jia yu Kang de.Minghui Li - 2018 - Xinbei shi: Lian jing chu ban shi ye gu fen you xian gong si.
    儒家是中國文化與哲學的主流,康德則建立了西方哲學第一個自律倫理學系統,兩者都有深刻而完整的內涵,深遠地影響了東、西方社會,至今力猶未逮。 中國傳統文化以實踐哲學為主,不長理論,西方哲學則以理論見長,實踐哲學欠缺獨立的地位,尤其是道德哲學,直到康德提出「自律」的原則,建立自律倫理學,才扭轉了情勢。康德對西方倫理學思考所造成的這種根本轉向, 被稱為「哥白尼式的革命」,因而與儒家思想間形成本質上的關聯。康德從人所共有的道德意識出發說明道德的本質,儒家則主張聖人之道本乎人心,仁義道德不離人倫日用。東西方聖哲的思想,就在人最根本的道德基礎上,如 電光石火般地交會,碰撞出絢麗的火花。 《儒家與康德》(增訂版)以論自律道德為主要論述的切入點,嘗試闡明康德的「自律」觀念並探討儒家孟子的自律倫理學,比較康德的「幸福」概念與儒家的義利之辯。本書自初版以來,已超過四分之一世紀,在學界引發了不 少討論與爭辯。「儒家與康德」這兩項跨文化的主題迄今依然是中外學界的熱門議題,值得繼續開發。 新版除原有的五篇精彩論文,又收錄作者兩篇論文:〈從康德的實踐哲學論王陽明的「知行合一」說〉及〈從康德的「道德宗教」論儒家的宗教性〉,並全面更新引用資料、修訂標題與文字,以便於讀者的閱讀與引用。.
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  41. Buddhism and the Psychology of Moral Judgement.Emily McRae - 2018 - In Oxford Handbook of Buddhist Ethics. New York, NY, USA:
    In this chapter I analyse two Buddhist moral psychological categories: the brahmavihāras (the four Boundless Qualities), which are the main moral affective states in Buddhist ethics, and the kleśas, or the afflictive mental states. Based on this analysis, I argue for two general claims about moral psychology in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist ethics. First, I argue that Buddhist moral psychology is centrally interested in the psychology of moral improvement: how do I become the kind of person who can respond in the best (...)
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  42. Suffering and the Six Perfections: Using Adversity to Attain Wisdom in Mahāyāna Buddhist Ethics.Emily McRae - 2018 - Journal of Value Inquiry 52 (4):395-410.
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  43. Detachment in Buddhist Ethics: Apatheia, Ataraxia, and Equanimity.Emily McRae - 2018 - In Ethics Without Self, Dharma Without Atman.
    Both Stoic and Buddhist ethics are deeply concerned with the ethical dangers of attachments. Three dangers stand out: (1) the destructive consequences of overwhelming emotionality, brought on by attachment, both for oneself and others, (2) the dangers to one's agency posed by strongly held, but ultimately unstable, attachments, and (3) the threat to virtuous emotional engagement with others caused by one's own attachment to them. The first two kinds of moral dangers have informed Stoic models of detachment (see Wong (2006). (...)
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  44. The Ethics of Interconnectedness: Charles Taylor, No-Self, and Buddhism.Ashwani Kumar Peetush - 2018 - In Gordon F. Davis (ed.), Ethics without Self, Dharma without Atman. New York, NY, USA: Springer. pp. 235-251.
    My aim in this paper is to chart what I see as parallels between the ontology of self in Charles Taylor’s work and that of various Buddhist ‘no-self’ views, along with parallels between Taylor’s commitment to reviving republican ideas and some aspects of Buddhist ethics. I see key resemblances and overlaps at the level of metaphysics as well as ethics. For Taylor, the sorts of atomistic accounts of self that have come to be accepted as natural and unquestionable in the (...)
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  45. Encountering China: Michael Sandel and Chinese Philosophy.Michael J. Sandel (ed.) - 2018 - Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
    In the West, Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel is a thinker of unusual prominence. In China, he's a phenomenon, greeted by vast crowds. China Daily reports that he has acquired a popularity "usually reserved for Hollywood movie stars." China Newsweek declared him the "most influential foreign figure" of the year. In Sandel the Chinese have found a guide through the ethical dilemmas created by the nation's swift embrace of a market economy--a guide whose communitarian ideas resonate with aspects of China's own (...)
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  46. Sŏngnihak ŭi suyang ch'iryo =.Myŏng-sŏk Sŏ - 2018 - Kyŏnggi-do Yongin-si: Ch'aek in Sup.
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  47. De xing wen ming lun: gu dian ru jia li yue jiao hua ji qi dang dai jia zhi.Xinduo Yang - 2018 - Beijing Shi: Zhi shi chan quan chu ban she.
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  48. Imaginative Moral Development.Nicolas Bommarito - 2017 - Journal of Value Inquiry 51 (2):251-262.
    The picture of moral development defended by followers of Aristotle takes moral cultivation to be like playing a harp; one gets to be good by actually spending time playing a real instrument. On this view, we cultivate a virtue by doing the actions associated with that virtue. I argue that this picture is inadequate and must be supplemented by imaginative techniques. One can, and sometimes must, cultivate virtue without actually performing the associated actions. Drawing on strands in Buddhist philosophy, I (...)
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  49. Breaking Good: Moral Agency, Neuroethics, and the Spontaneity of Compassion.Christian Coseru - 2017 - In Jake H. Davis (ed.), A Mirror is for Reflection: Understanding Buddhist Ethics. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 109-128.
    This paper addresses two specific and related questions the Buddhist neuroethics program raises for our traditional understanding of Buddhist ethics: Does affective neuroscience supply enough evidence that contempla- tive practices such as compassion meditation can enhance normal cognitive functioning? Can such an account advance the philosophical debate concerning freedom and determinism in a profitable direction? In response to the first question, I argue that dispositions such as empathy and altruism can in effect be understood in terms of the mechanisms that (...)
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  50. A Mirror is for Reflection: Understanding Buddhist Ethics.Jake H. Davis (ed.) - 2017 - New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
    This volume offers a rich and accessible introduction to contemporary research on Buddhist ethical thought. It includes contributions of many of the leading scholars in this field, on topics including the nature of Buddhist ethics, karma and rebirth, mindfulness, narrative, intention, free will, politics, anger, and equanimity.
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