Karma, Rebirth, and Mental Causation

In Charles Prebish, Damien Kewon & Dale Wright (eds.), Revisioning Karma. Journal of Buddhist Ethics Online Books. pp. 133-154 (2007)
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Attempts to provide a thoroughly naturalized reading of the doctrine of karma have raised important issues regarding its role in the overall economy of the Buddhist soteriological project. This paper identifies some of the most problematic aspects of a naturalized interpretation of karma: (1) the strained relationship between retributive action and personal identity, and (2) the debate concerning mental causation in modern reductionist accounts of persons. The paper explores the benefits of a phenomenological approach in which reductionist accounts of karma are replaced with accounts that interpret virtuous and compassionate actions as emergent properties of consciousness that can be further enhanced through socialization.
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