Non-Self and Ethics: Kantian and Buddhist Themes

In Gordon Davis (ed.), Ethics without Self, Dharma without Atman: Western and Buddhist Philosophical Traditions in Dialogue. Springer. pp. 145-159 (2018)
  Copy   BIBTEX


After distinguishing between a metaphysical and a contemplative strategy interpretation of the no-self doctrine, I argue that the latter allows for the illumination of significant and under-discussed Kantian affinities with Buddhist views of the self and moral psychology. Unlike its metaphysical counterpart, the contemplative strategy interpretation, understands the doctrine of no-self as a technique of perception, undertaken from the practical standpoint of action. I argue that if we think of the contemplative strategy version of the no-self doctrine as a process engaged in, in order to free oneself from delusion and to see things more objectively in order to promote right action, then we find a clear parallel in Kant’s duty of self-knowledge which demands that we rid ourselves of deluded moral self-descriptions. While in Buddhism the aim is a selflessness that liberates one from suffering, for Kant the aim is an agency free of the conceit that interferes with clear moral vision, sound judgement, and dutiful action. I conclude by responding to objections advanced by Charles Goodman which aim to show that the Kantian position is deeply at odds with Buddhist thinking, arguing that neither Kantian agency nor Kantian self-legislation is undermined by the doctrine of no-self.



External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Moral Self-Knowledge in Kantian Ethics.Emer O’Hagan - 2009 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (5):525-537.
Kantian Ethics: Indian Responses (Ethics-1, M24).Shyam Ranganathan - 2016 - In A. Raghuramaraju (ed.), Philosophy, E-PG Pathshala. Delhi: India, Department of Higher Education (NMEICT).
Buddhist Non-Cognitivism.Joseph D. Markowski - 2014 - Asian Philosophy 24 (3):227-241.
Buddhist Fictionalism.Mario D’Amato - 2013 - Sophia 52 (3):409-424.
Kantian Moral Striving.Mavis Biss - 2015 - Kantian Review 20 (1):1-23.
La virtud en el contexto del formalismo ético.Julián Carvajal Cordón - 2007 - Convivium: revista de filosofía 20:113-144.
Kant's Critique of Right.Gary Banham - 2002 - Kantian Review 6:35-59.
Virtue Ethics, Kantian Ethics, and Consequentialism.Jane Singleton - 2002 - Journal of Philosophical Research 27:537-551.


Added to PP

426 (#29,071)

6 months
37 (#46,511)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Anthropology from a pragmatic point of view.Immanuel Kant - 2006 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Robert B. Louden.

Add more references