Indian Buddhist Philosophy: Metaphysics as Ethics (Ancient Philosophies)

Indian Buddhist Philosophy: Metaphysics as Ethics (Ancient Philosophies)

Amber D. Carpenter

Language: English

Pages: 371

ISBN: 2:00273188

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


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, this 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 distinction and the moral aim, or ideal. Indian Buddhist philosophy is shown to be a remarkably rich tradition that deserves much wider engagement from European philosophy. Carpenter shows that while we should recognise the differences and distances between Indian and European philosophy, its driving questions and key conceptions, we must resist the temptation to find in Indian Buddhist philosophy, some Other, something foreign, self-contained and quite detached from anything familiar. Indian Buddhism is shown to be a way of looking at the world that shares many of the features of European philosophy and considers themes central to philosophy understood in the European tradition.

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(both can be found in The Early Upanishads: Annotated Text and Translation, P. Olivelle [ed.] [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998]). 18.For philosophical discussion of the Vedic seeking of self in the Upaniṥads, see J. Ganeri, The Concealed Art of the Soul: Theories of Self and Practices of Truth in Indian Ethics and Epistemology (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2007), ch. 1. 19.Buddhaghoṣa has detailed discussion in his Visuddhimagga, chapter XIV, including lists of the saṃskāras (XIV.133), as

(sūtra-followers) 137 scepticism 154, 187 Sceptics, the 80–81 self, the ch. 2, 122, 123–4, 165–6, 212–13 absence of see no-self argument for existence of ix; see also Nyāya bundle-theory 127, 133 see also bundles and change 27–8 clinging to self as causing suffering 21, 231 cross-modal unity 125–7, 129–31, 131–4, 134–6 delusion 13 “I am that” 165 “know thyself” 20–21, 31 as “metaphysical glue” 32, 127 process self vs substance self 23, 134 as substance 123, 134 transformation of

being’ and ‘a person’ more thoroughly, to surmount confusion about beings and to establish his mind on the plane of non-confusion, he makes sure that the meaning defined, namely ‘This is mere mentality-materiality, there is no being, no person’ is confirmed by a number of sutta. (Vsm. XVIII.25) Buddhaghoṣa concludes with clear reference to the Milindapañhā: Therefore, just as when the component parts such as axles, wheels, frame poles, etc., are arranged in a certain way, there comes to be

precepts consist in not killing, not stealing, speaking truly and compassionately; nor that keeping them leads to genuine well-being, which well-being enables one to attain the ultimate insight in which final goodness – liberation from saṃsāra – consists.12 The emphasis, of course, is different. The perfections, generosity above all, are emphasized as suitable for all persons. Articulating ethics in terms of ‘perfections’, rather than the Eightfold Path, orients one more towards attitudes we

the same. At stake, however, is not just an arcane claim about a certain kind of causal relation but, rather, the very coherence of attributing moral responsibility. And this is something one might well be more circumspect about junking altogether. Action and result without selves: a question of moral responsibility The Milindapañhā, or the Dialogues with King Milinda, from which we drew the chariot argument discussed in Chapter 2, engages with a host of delicate and difficult perplexities.

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