Buddhist Moral Philosophy: An Introduction, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Buddhist Moral Philosophy

An Introduction, 1st Edition

By Christopher W. Gowans


334 pages

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The first book of its kind, Buddhist Moral Philosophy: An Introduction introduces the reader to contemporary philosophical interpretations and analyses of Buddhist ethics. It begins with a survey of traditional Buddhist ethical thought and practice, mainly in the Pali Canon and early Mahāyāna schools, and an account of the emergence of Buddhist moral philosophy as a distinct discipline in the modern world. It then examines recent debates about karma, rebirth and nirvana, well-being, normative ethics, moral objectivity, moral psychology, and the issue of freedom, responsibility and determinism. The book also introduces the reader to philosophical discussions of topics in socially engaged Buddhism such as human rights, war and peace, and environmental ethics.


"This volume is insightful and engaging for anyone with a strong background in moral philosophy who is interested in how Buddhist ethics can be approached through a Western lens. Advanced students and scholars studying Buddhism will appreciate the analysis of how Western philosophical thought works to understand a tradition that does not fall cleanly within its methodologies. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through researchers/faculty."--N. A. Weiss, CHOICE

Table of Contents

Introduction Part 1 Buddhist Ethical Thought and Buddhist Moral Philosophy 1 The Teaching of the Buddha 2 The Development of Buddhism 3 What is Buddhist Moral Philosophy? 4 Karma, Rebirth, Nirvana and Other Topics: Some Skeptical Concerns Part 2 Theoretical Topics in Buddhist Moral Philosophy 5 Well-Being 6 Normative Ethics: Buddhist Ethics as a Theory of Right Action 7 Normative Ethics: Anti-Theoretical and Other Interpretations 8 Moral Objectivity 9 Moral Psychology 10 Freedom, Responsibility and Determinism Part 3 Practical Issues in Buddhist Moral Philosophy 11 Social Engaged Buddhism 12 Human Rights 13 Violence, War and Peace 14 Environmental Ethics Bibliography

About the Author

Christopher W. Gowans is Professor of Philosophy at Fordham University.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Ethics & Moral Philosophy