Confucianism, Buddhism, and Virtue Ethics

European Journal for the Philosophy of Religion 8 (1):187-214 (2016)
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Are Confucian and Buddhist ethical views closer to Kantian, Consequentialist, or Virtue Ethical ones? And how can such comparisons shed light on the unique aspects of Confucian and Buddhist views? This essay (i) provides a historically grounded framework for distinguishing western views, (ii) identifies a series of questions that we can ask in order to clarify the philosophic accounts of ethical motivation embedded in the Buddhist and Confucian traditions, and (iii) then critiques Lee Ming-huei’s claim that Confucianism is closer to Kantianism than virtue ethics and Charles Goodman’s claim that Buddhism is closer to Consequentialism than virtue ethics.

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Bradford Cokelet
University of Kansas


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