Indian Ethics: Classical Traditions and Contemporary Challenges

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Indian ethics is one of the great traditions of ethics in world-historical philosophy. Indian ethical insights have influenced a wide spectrum of thinkers ranging from the early Greeks and Goethe to Emerson and Thoreau. Yet there have been few systematic studies of the broad range of Indian ethical reflections.

This comprehensive compendium explores the scope and limits of Indian ethical thinking. Thirty distinguished writers engage orthodox and heterodox schools of thought from the Vedas, Upanishads, Mahabharata and the Bhagavad Gita to Buddhist, Jaina and Samkhya-Yoga philosophies, and reflect on the interpretation of their teachings and practices in contemporary contexts.

The General Introduction examines the distinctive nature of moral philosophy in India as compared to the West. Part A analyses classic texts dealing with such themes as: the ends of life, rites and gifting, the implications of karma and dharma, the ethic of yoga and discipline, and the reality of evil and suffering. Part B focuses on Buddhist and Jaina ethics through such topics as the emotions, action, virtues, renunciation, enlightenment, human rights and ecology. Part C extends and adapts these traditions to the modern and postmodern worlds, encountering contemporary thinkers like Gandhi, and present-day issues such as rights, civil codes, religious tolerance, environmental and animal ethics, and the challenges posed by the imperatives of peace and nonviolence, justice and freedom. Finally, Part D pays special attention to post-colonial developments and feminist and applied ethics - on such questions as the gendered self, gender equity, suttee and abortion, health care and biomedical ethics.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780754633013
  • Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Limited
  • Publication date: 1/1/2006
  • Pages: 442
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

General introduction : thinking ethics, the West and India 1
Introduction to part A : early Indian ethics - Vedas to the Gita; dharma, rites to 'right' 33
1 Dharma, imperatives, and tradition : toward an Indian theory of moral action 57
2 Dharma and rationality 79
3 The myth of the ethics of Purusartha or humanity's life-goals 103
4 The fires of strangers : a Levinasian approach to Vedic ethics 117
5 Samkhya-yoga ethics 149
6 Ethics of liberation in Patanjali's yoga 161
7 Karma's suffering : a Mimamsa solution to the problem of evil 171
8 Dana as a moral category 191
Introduction to part B : Buddhist and Jaina approaches to ethical decision making 211
9 Purgation and virtue in Jainism : toward an ecological ethic 217
10 Buddhist ethical theory 229
11 Are there 'human rights' in Buddhism? 247
12 Buddhism and democracy 269
13 Buddhist reductionism and the structure of Buddhist ethics 283
14 Animal ethics and ecology in classical India - reflections on a moral tradition 297
Introduction to part C : reflections on moral ideals and modernity; Gandhi and nonviolence 329
15 Hindu theory of tolerance 337
16 Action oriented morality in Hinduism 351
17 The ethical irrationality of the world : Weber and Hindu ethics 363
18 Social injustice, retribution and revenge : a normative analysis of the contemporary social scene 377
19 Gandhi, empire, and a culture of peace 395
20 Ethical skepticism in the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo 411
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