Comparative Philosophy 13 (1) (2021)

Authors
Michael Hemmingsen
University of Guam
Abstract
In this paper I contrast the metaphysical philosophies of Benedict de Spinoza and the ‘sudden enlightenment’ tradition of Chan Buddhism. Spinoza’s expressivist philosophy, in which everything can be conceived via a lineage of finite causes terminating in substance as a metaphysical ground of all things, emphasises the relative sameness of all entities. By contrast, Chan’s philosophy of emptiness, which rests on the dependent co-origination of all entities, renders such comparison fundamentally meaningless. Having no source beyond dependent co-origination to generate a thing’s distinct nature leads to a metaphysics in which, rather than being relatively similar or different, all things are at one and the same time absolutely the same and absolutely distinct. As a result, Spinoza grounds ethics wholly is sameness or similarity, whereas Chan transcends the dichotomy of sameness and difference and offers an environmental ethics grounded simultaneously in absolute sameness and absolute difference. As a result, in Spinoza’s case, the dissimilarity between human beings and the non-human world places limits on our concern for it. In Chan Buddhism, however, insight into the emptiness of all phenomena leads to a concern for all entities in their suchness, regardless of whether they are similar or different to human beings. As such, I argue that Chan is in a better position than Spinoza to develop a robust environmental ethic.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,489
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Spinoza.Michael Della Rocca - 2008 - New York: Routledge.
The Nature of Buddhist Ethics.Damien Keown - 1992 - St. Martin's Press.

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Re-Charting Global Ethics.D. A. Masolo - 2014 - Journal of Global Ethics 10 (1):38-44.
What's Wrong with Ostrich Nominalism?Howard Peacock - 2009 - Philosophical Papers 38 (2):183-217.
Spinoza and Ecology Revisted.K. L. F. Houle - 1997 - Environmental Ethics 19 (4):417-431.
Buddhism and Environmental Ethics in Context.Alastair S. Gunn - 2008 - Centre for Civilisational Dialogue, University of Malaya.
The Edge of “Animal Rights”.Yajun Sun - 2018 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 31 (5):543-557.
Environmental Virtues and Environmental Justice.Paul Haught - 2011 - Environmental Ethics 33 (4):357-375.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2022-01-07

Total views
8 ( #1,010,919 of 2,520,891 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #270,438 of 2,520,891 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes