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Karma, Moral Responsibility and Buddhist Ethics

In Manuel Vargas & John Doris (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Moral Psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 7-23 (2022)

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  1. Karma, Character, and Consequentialism.Damien Keown - 1996 - Journal of Religious Ethics 24 (2):329-350.
    Karma is a central feature of Buddhist ethics, but the question of its classification in terms of ethical theory has so far received little attention. Granting that karma is foundational to Buddhist ethics and arguing that what is fundamental to the Buddhist understanding of karma is the samsk?ric modification of the agent, this article relates the doctrine of karma as understood in Therav?da Buddhism to Western ethical concepts and challenges the casual consensus that treats Buddhist ethics as a variety of (...)
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  • The Law of Karma: a Philosophical Study.Bruce R. Reichenbach - 1990 - New York: Macmillan Press and University of Hawaii Press.
    The book examines what advocates of the law of karma mean by the doctrine, various ways they interpret it, and how they see it operating. The study investigates and critically evaluates the law of karma's connections to significant philosophical concepts like causation, freedom, God, persons, the moral law, liberation, and immortality. For example, it explores in depth the implications of the doctrine for whether we are free or fatalistically determined, whether human suffering can be reconciled with cosmic justice, the nature (...)
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  • Indian Buddhist Philosophy.Amber Carpenter - 2013 - Durham: Acumen Publishing.
    Organised in broadly chronological terms, this book presents the philosophical arguments of the great Indian Buddhist philosophers of the fifth century BCE to the eighth century CE. Each chapter examines their core ethical, metaphysical and epistemological views as well as the distinctive area of Buddhist ethics that we call today moral psychology. Throughout, the book follows three key themes that both tie the tradition together and are the focus for most critical dialogue: the idea of anatman or no-self, the appearance/reality (...)
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  • The Forerunner of All Things: Buddhaghosa on Mind, Intention, and Agency.Maria Heim - 2013 - Oup Usa.
    Scholars have long been intrigued by the Buddha's defining action (karma) as intention. This book explores systematically how intention, agency, and moral psychology were interpreted in all branches of early Theravada thought, paying special attention to the thought of the 5th-century commentator Buddhaghosa.
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  • Building better beings: a theory of moral responsibility.Manuel Vargas - 2013 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Part I: Building blocks. 1. Folk convictions -- 2. Doubts about libertarianism -- 3. Nihilism and revisionism -- 4. Building a better theory -- Part II. A theory of moral responsibility. 5. The primacy of reasons -- 6. Justifying the practice -- 7. Responsible agency -- 8. Blame and desert -- 9. History and manipulation --10. Some conclusions.
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  • Moonshadows: Conventional Truth in Buddhist Philosophy.The Cowherds - 2011 - Oup Usa.
    In Moonshadows, the Cowherds, a team of ten scholars of Buddhist Studies, address the nature of conventional truth as it is understood in the Madhyamaka tradition deriving from Nagarjuna and Candrakarti. Moonshadows combines textual scholarship with philosophical analysis to elucidate the metaphysical, epistemological and ethical consequences of this doctrine.
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  • Free Will.Sam Harris - 2012 - Free Press.
    A BELIEF IN FREE WILL touches nearly everything that human beings value. It is difficult to think about law, politics, religion, public policy, intimate relationships, morality—as well as feelings of remorse or personal achievement—without first imagining that every person is the true source of his or her thoughts and actions. And yet the facts tell us that free will is an illusion. In this enlightening book, Sam Harris argues that this truth about the human mind does not undermine morality or (...)
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  • The Bodhisattva's Brain: Buddhism Naturalized.Owen Flanagan - 2011 - Bradford.
    If we are material beings living in a material world -- and all the scientific evidence suggests that we are -- then we must find existential meaning, if there is such a thing, in this physical world. We must cast our lot with the natural rather than the supernatural. Many Westerners with spiritual inclinations are attracted to Buddhism -- almost as a kind of moral-mental hygiene. But, as Owen Flanagan points out in The Bodhisattva's Brain, Buddhism is hardly naturalistic. In (...)
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  • Buddhism as Philosophy: An Introduction.Mark Siderits - 2007 - Hackett Pub. Co..
    In this clear, concise account, Siderits makes the Buddhist tradition accessible to a Western audience, offering generous selections from the canonical Buddhist texts and providing an engaging, analytical introduction to the basic tenets of Buddhist thought.
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  • Ālayavijñāna: On the Origin and the Early Development of a Central Concept of Yogācāra Philosophy.Lambert Schmithausen - 1987 - International Institute for Buddist Studies.
    pt. 1. Text -- pt. 2. Notes, bibliography and indices.
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  • Early Buddhist Metaphysics: The Making of a Philosophical Tradition.Noa Ronkin - 2005 - London ; New Yorkroutledgecurzon.
    Early Buddhist Metaphysics provides a philosophical account of the major doctrinal shift in the history of early Theravada tradition in India: the transition from the earliest stratum of Buddhist thought to the systematic and allegedly scholastic philosophy of the Pali Abhidhamma movement. Entwining comparative philosophy and Buddhology, the author probes the Abhidhamma's metaphysical transition in terms of the Aristotelian tradition and vis-à-vis modern philosophy, exploits Western philosophical literature from Plato to contemporary texts in the fields of philosophy of mind and (...)
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  • Against a Hindu God: Buddhist Philosophy of Religion in India.Parimal G. Patil - 2009 - Columbia University Press.
    Comparative philosophy of religions -- Disciplinary challenges -- A grammar for comparison -- Comparative philosophy of religions -- Content, structure, and arguments -- Epistemology -- Religious epistemology in classical India: in defense of a Hindu god -- Interpreting Nyāya epistemology -- The Nyāya argument for the existence of Īśvara -- Defending the Nyāya argument -- Shifting the burden of proof -- Against Īśvara: Ratnakīrti's Buddhist critique -- The section on pervasion: the trouble with natural relations -- Two arguments -- The (...)
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  • Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
    Challenging, with several powerful arguments, some of our deepest beliefs about rationality, morality, and personal identity, Parfit claims that we have a false view about our own nature. It is often rational to act against our own best interersts, he argues, and most of us have moral views that are self-defeating. We often act wrongly, although we know there will be no one with serious grounds for complaint, and when we consider future generations it is very hard to avoid conclusions (...)
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  • Buddhist Phenomenology: A Philosophical Investigation of Yogācāra Buddhism and the C H’Eng Wei-Shih Lun.Dan Lusthaus - 2002 - Routledgecurzon.
    Preface Part One Buddhism and Phenomenology Ch.1Buddhism and Phenomenology Ch.2 Husserl and Merleau-Ponty Part Two The Four Basic Buddhist Models in India Introduction Ch.3 Model One: The Five Skandhas Ch.4 Model Two: Pratitya-samutpada Ch.5 Model Three: Tridhatu Ch.6 Model Four: Sila-Samadhi-Prajna Ch.7 Asamjni-samapatti and Nirodha-samapatti Ch.8 Summary of the Four Models Part Three Karma, Meditation, and Epistemology Ch.9 Karma Ch.10 Madhyamikan Issues Ch.11 The Privilaging of Prajna-paramita Part Four Trimsika and Translations Ch.12 Texts and Translations Part Five The Ch’eng Wei-Shih (...)
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  • The Nature of Buddhist Ethics.Damien Keown - 1992 - St. Martin's Press.
    In this book the author considers data from both early and later schools of Buddhism in an attempt to provide an overall characterization of the structure of Buddhist ethics. The importance of ethics in the Buddha's teachings is widely acknowledged, but the pursuit of ethical ideals has up to now been widely held to be secondary to the attainment of knowledge. Drawing on the Aristotelian tradition of ethics the author argues against this intellectualization of Buddhism and in favour of a (...)
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  • Consequences of Compassion:An Interpretation and Defense of Buddhist Ethics: An Interpretation and Defense of Buddhist Ethics.Charles Goodman - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
    Fundamental Buddhist teachings -- Main features of some western ethical theories -- Teravāda ethics as rule-consequentialism -- Mahāyāna ethics before Śāntideva and after -- Transcending ethics -- Buddhist ethics and the demands of consequentialism -- Buddhism on moral responsibility -- Punishment -- Objections and replies -- A Buddhist response to Kant.
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  • Philosophy in Classical India: Proper Work of Reason.Jonardon Ganeri - 2001 - Routledge.
    Original in content and approach, Philosophy in Classical India focuses on the rational principles of Indian philosophical theory, rather than the mysticism usually associated with it. Ganeri explores the philosophical projects of a number of major Indian philosophers and looks into the methods of rational inquiry deployed within these projects. In so doing, he illuminates a network of mutual reference and criticism, influence and response, in which reason is simultaneously used constructively and to call itself into question.
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  • Moral Theory in Śāntideva's Śikṣāsamuccaya: Cultivating the Fruits of Virtue.Barbra R. Clayton - 2006 - Routledge.
    This book analyses the moral theory of the seventh century Indian Mahayana master, Santideva. Santideva is the author of the well-known religious poem the Bodhicaryavatara (Entering the Path of Enlightenment) , as well as the significant, but relatively overlooked, Siksasamuccaya (Compendium of Teachings) . Both of these works describe the nature and path of the bodhisattva, the altruistic spiritual ideal especially exalted in Mahayana literature. With particular focus on the Siksasamuccaya , this work offers a response to three questions: What (...)
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  • Building a better theory of responsibility.Victoria McGeer - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (10):2635-2649.
    In Building Better Beings, Vargas develops and defends a naturalistic account of responsibility, whereby responsible agents must possess a feasibly situated capacity to detect and respond to moral considerations. As a preliminary step, he also offers a substantive account of how we might justify our practices of holding responsible—viz., by appeal to their efficacy in fostering a ‘valuable form of agency’ across the community at large, a form of agency that precisely encompasses sensitivity to moral considerations. But how do these (...)
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  • Paleo-compatibilism and buddhist reductionism.Mark Siderits - 2008 - Sophia 47 (1):29-42.
    Paleo-compatibilism is the view that the freedom required for moral responsibility is not incompatible with determinism about the factors relevant to moral assessment, since the claim that we are free and the claim that the psychophysical elements are causally determined are true in distinct and incommensurable ways. This is to be accounted for by appealing to the distinction between conventional truth and ultimate truth developed by Buddhist Reductionists. Paleo-compatibilists hold that the illusion of incompatibilism only arises when we illegitimately mix (...)
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  • Buddhist reductionism.Mark Siderits - 1997 - Philosophy East and West 47 (4):455-478.
    While Derek Parfit is aware that his reductionism about persons is anticipated in early Buddhism and Abhidharma, he has not explored that tradition for any clues it might yield concerning the consequences of adopting the position. In this essay, the tradition is used to construct a taxonomy of possible views about persons, and then examine the meta-physical commitments that Buddhist reductionists claim are entailed by their view. While these turn out to be significant, it is argued here that this is (...)
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  • Building a better theory of responsibility.Victoria McGeer - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (10):2635-2649.
    In Building Better Beings, Vargas develops and defends a naturalistic account of responsibility, whereby responsible agents must possess a feasibly situated capacity to detect and respond to moral considerations. As a preliminary step, he also offers a substantive account of how we might justify our practices of holding responsible—viz., by appeal to their efficacy in fostering a ‘valuable form of agency’ across the community at large, a form of agency that precisely encompasses sensitivity to moral considerations. But how do these (...)
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  • Enacting Selves, Enacting Worlds: On the Buddhist Theory of Karma.Matthew MacKenzie - 2013 - Philosophy East and West 63 (2):194-212.
    The concept of karma is one of the most general and basic for the philosophical traditions of India, one of an interconnected cluster of concepts that form the basic presuppositions of Indian philosophy. And like many general, pervasive, and basic philosophical concepts, the idea of karma exhibits both semantic complexity and a certain fluidity and open texture. That is, the concept may not have a determinate application in all possible cases, it can be fleshed out in quite different ways in (...)
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  • Buddhist Philosophy: A Historical Analysis.David J. Kalupahana - 1978 - Philosophical Review 87 (2):316-319.
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  • Buddhist Philosophy: A Historical Analysis.David J. Kalupahana - 1984 - University of Hawaii Press.
    This introduction to Buddhism examines its basic philosophical teachings and historical development, setting forth complex and significant ideas in a straightforward and simple style that is easily accessible to the student. The author's orientation is philosophical, rather than religious or sociological. This approach is both the uniqueness and the strength of the work.Part I outlines the historical background out of which Buddhism arose and emphasizes the teachings of early Buddhism. Part II examines developments in the history of Buddhist thought and (...)
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  • Is consciousness reflexively self‐aware? A Buddhist analysis.Bronwyn Finnigan - 2018 - Ratio 31 (4):389-401.
    This article examines contemporary Buddhist defences of the idea that consciousness is reflexively aware or self-aware. Call this the Self-Awareness Thesis. A version of this thesis was historically defended by Dignāga but rejected by Prāsaṅgika Mādhyamika Buddhists. Prāsaṅgikas historically advanced four main arguments against this thesis. In this paper I consider whether some contemporary defence of the Self-Awareness Thesis can withstand these Prāsaṅgika objections. A problem is that contemporary defenders of the Self-Awareness Thesis have subtly different accounts with different assessment (...)
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  • Buddhism and Animal Ethics.Bronwyn Finnigan - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (7):1-12.
    This article provides a philosophical overview of some of the central Buddhist positions and argument regarding animal welfare. It introduces the Buddha's teaching of ahiṃsā or non-violence and rationally reconstructs five arguments from the context of early Indian Buddhism that aim to justify its extension to animals. These arguments appeal to the capacity and desire not to suffer, the virtue of compassion, as well as Buddhist views on the nature of self, karma, and reincarnation. This article also considers how versions (...)
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  • Elbow Room.Daniel C. Dennett - 1986 - Ethics 96 (2):423-425.
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  • Freedom with a Buddhist Face.Daniel Breyer - 2013 - Sophia 52 (2):359-379.
    This article clarifies the Buddhist position on freedom and responsibility, while arguing for three central claims. The first is that it is an open question whether Buddhists endorse causal determinism or causal indeterminism. The second claim is that the most promising contemporary interpretations of the Buddhist view fail in important respects. The final claim is that the best interpretation of the Buddhist position on freedom and responsibility is Buddhist Perspectivalism, the view that we should view ourselves as genuinely free and (...)
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  • Abhidharma.Noa Ronkin - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Attention, Not Self.Jonardon Ganeri - 2017 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    Jonardon Ganeri presents a radically reoriented account of mind, to which attention is the key. It is attention, not self, that explains the experiential and normative situatedness of humans in the world. Ganeri draws together three disciplines: analytic philosophy and phenomenology, cognitive science and psychology, and Buddhist thought.
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  • Buddhism as Philosophy.Mark Siderits - 2021 - Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company.
    In _Buddhism As Philosophy_, Mark Siderits makes the Buddhist philosophical tradition accessible to a Western audience. Offering generous selections from the canonical Buddhist texts and providing an engaging, analytical introduction to the fundamental tenets of Buddhist thought, this revised, expanded, and updated edition builds on the success of the first edition in clarifying the basic concepts and arguments of the Buddhist philosophers.
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  • What Kind of Free Will did the Buddha Teach?Asaf Federman - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 6:29-37.
    Recently, some contradictory statements have been made concerning whether or not the Buddha taught free will. Here, a comparative method is used to examine what exactly is meant by free will, and to determine to what extent this meaning is applicable to early Buddhist thought as recorded in the Pāli Nikāyas. The comparative method reveals parallels between contemporary criticisms of Cartesian philosophy and Buddhist criticisms of Brahmanical and Jain doctrines. Although in Cartesian terms Buddhism promotes no recognizable theory of free (...)
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  • Consequences of Compassion:An Interpretation and Defense of Buddhist Ethics: An Interpretation and Defense of Buddhist Ethics.Charles Goodman - 2009 - Oup Usa.
    This book examines the theoretical structure of Buddhist accounts of morality, defends them against objections, and discusses their implications for free will, the justification of punishment, and other issues.
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  • Buddhism, Virtue and Environment.David E. Cooper & Simon P. James - 2006 - Environmental Values 15 (1):138-140.
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  • Śāntideva and the moral psychology of fear.Bronwyn Finnigan - 2019 - In Jonathan Gold & Douglas Duckworth (eds.), Readings of Santideva's Guide to Bodhisattva Practice. Columbia University Press. pp. 221-234.
    Buddhists consider fear to be a root of suffering. In Chapters 2 and 7 of the Bodhicaryāvatāra, Śāntideva provides a series of provocative verses aimed at inciting fear to motivate taking refuge in the Bodhisattvas and thereby achieve fearlessness. This article aims to analyze the moral psychology involved in this transition. It will structurally analyze fear in terms that are grounded in, and expand upon, an Abhidharma Buddhist analysis of mind. It will then contend that fear, taking refuge, and fearlessness (...)
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  • The Smart theory of moral responsibility and desert.Richard Arneson - 2003 - In Serena Olsaretti (ed.), Desert and Justice. Clarendon Press.
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  • The Nature of a Buddhist Path.Bronwyn Finnigan - 2017 - In Jake H. Davis (ed.), A Mirror is for Reflection: Understanding Buddhist Ethics. Oxford University Press. pp. 33-52.
    Is there a ‘common element’ in Buddhist ethical thought from which one might rationally reconstruct a Buddhist normative ethical theory? While many agree that there is such an element, there is disagreement about whether it is best reconstructed in terms that approximate consequentialism or virtue ethics. This paper will argue that two distinct evaluative relations underlie these distinct positions; an instrumental and constitutive analysis. It will raise some difficulties for linking these distinct analyses to particular normative ethical theories but will (...)
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  • Buddhist Idealism.Bronwyn Finnigan - 2017 - In Tyron Goldschmidt & Kenneth Pearce (eds.), Idealism: New Essays in Metaphysics. Oxford University Press. pp. 178-199.
    This article surveys some of the most influential Buddhist arguments in defense of idealism. It begins by clarifying the central theses under dispute and rationally reconstructs arguments from four major Buddhist figures in defense of some or all of these theses. It engages arguments from Vasubandhu’s Viṃśikā and Triṃśikā; Dignāga’s matching-failure argument in the Ālambanaparīkṣā; the sahopalambhaniyama inference developed by Dharmakīrti; and Xuanzang’s weird but clever logical argument that intrigued philosophers in China and Japan. It aims to clarify what is (...)
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  • 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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  • What is it like to be a bodhisattva? Moral phenomenology in íåntideva's bodhicaryåvatåra.Jay Garfield - unknown
    Bodhicaryåvatåra was composed by the Buddhist monk scholar Íåntideva at Nalandå University in India sometime during the 8th Century CE. It stands as one the great classics of world philosophy and of Buddhist literature, and is enormously influential in Tibet, where it is regarded as the principal source for the ethical thought of Mahåyåna Buddhism. The title is variously translated, most often as A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life or Engaging in the Bodhisattva Deeds, translations that follow the (...)
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  • Civilizing blame.V. McGeer - 2013 - In D. Justin Coates & Neal A. Tognazzini (eds.), Blame: Its Nature and Norms. Oxford University Press. pp. 162--188.
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  • The Nature of Buddhist Ethics.Damien Keown - 1994 - Religious Studies 30 (2):252-254.
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  • An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics.Peter Harvey - 2001 - Philosophy 76 (295):168-171.
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  • Resentment and Reality: Buddhism on Moral Responsibility.Charles Goodman - 2002 - American Philosophical Quarterly 39 (4):359-372.
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