Sophia 46 (2):75-77 (2007)
Do Buddhist ‘moral’ principles, such as generosity, equanimity, and compassion, consistently map onto Greek and, more generally, Western ‘virtues’? In other words, is it at all possible to talk about a Buddhist ‘virtue ethics’? Should equanimity, for instance, be understood as having the same function in Buddhist moral thought as temperance has for Plato, Aristotle, or the Stoics? Does the Buddha’s effort to embody certain cardinal virtues (sīla) resemble the classical Greek and Roman pursuit of a life of personal flourishing (eudaimonia)? And, to take one step further – Is Buddhism’s perceived enlightened attitude toward the environment suggestive of a new ethics aimed at confronting the global ecological crisis? Buddhism, Virtue, and Environment, a volume co-authored by David Cooper and Simon James, addresses these questions and concerns in a systematic and philosophically sophisticated way.
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