1st Edition

Hinduism and Environmental Ethics Law, Literature, and Philosophy

By Christopher Framarin Copyright 2014
    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    206 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.

    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


    Christopher G. Framarin is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Department of Religious Studies at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He is the author of Desire and Motivation in Indian Philosophy, also published by Routledge.

    ‘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 (Manusmṛti, Mahābhārata,

    Yogasūtra.) 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