This book argues that the standard arguments for and against the claim that certain Hindu texts and traditions attribute direct moral standing to animals and plants are unconvincing. It presents careful, extensive, and original interpretations of passages from the Manusmrti (law), the Mahābhārata (literature), and the Yogasūtra (philosophy), and argues that these texts attribute direct moral standing to animals and plants for at least three reasons: they are sentient, they are alive, and they possess a range of other relevant attributes and abilities.
This book is of interest to scholars of Hinduism and the environment, religion and the environment, Hindu and/or Buddhist philosophy more broadly, and environmental ethics.
‘In this study of environmental ethics in Hinduism, Framarin assesses ways in which legal, epic, and philosophical literatures of India assert that animals and plants merit moral standing. The tools of reason, narrative, and spiritual affectivity combine in this important study to elucidate key methods and approaches to decision-making found in Hinduism even today.’
Christopher Key Chapple, Loyola Marymount University, USA
"Environmental philosophy is a global matter and hence it is appropriate that it should draw on a global variety of philosophical traditions. Framarin’s new book is a study of Hindu environmental ethics focused on three key Sanskrit texts (Manusm?ti, Mahabharata,
Yogasutra.) The central question addressed is whether the Hindu tradition attributes direct moral standing to plants and animals.
Framarin’s original arguments for an affirmative answer and his nuanced criticisms of rival interpretations should be of interest to environmental philosophers everywhere."
Roy W. Perrett (University of Melbourne)
"This is an important new contribution from a scholar who has already established an impressive track record in the field. It takes a sophisticated environmental ethics approach to seminal Hindu texts, breaking new ground, especially on the question of the moral standing of non-human life. A must-read for anyone wishing to understand Hindu attitudes toward the natural world."
Lance Nelson, University of San Diego
Introduction 1. A Plausible Environmental Ethic 2 Instrumentalist Interpretations 3. Interconnectedness Interpretations 4. Sameness Interpretations 5. The Moral Standing of Animals and Plants in the Manusmrti 6. The Moral Standing of Animals and Plants in the Mahābhārata, Part I: The Burning of the Khāndava Forest 7. The Moral Standing of Animals and Plants in the Mahābhārata, Part II: The Dialogue on Vegetarianism and Ahimsā in the Anuśāsanaparvan 8. The Moral Standing of Animals and Plants in the Yogasūtra 9. Conclusion
This series, in association with the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, intends primarily the publication of constructive Hindu theological, philosophical and ethical projects aimed at bringing Hindu traditions into dialogue with contemporary trends in scholarship and contemporary society. The series invites original, high quality, research level work on religion, culture and society of Hindus living in India and abroad. Proposals for annotated translations of important primary sources and studies in the history of the Hindu religious traditions will also be considered.