Moral Philosophy: The Right and the Good

In The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Indian Ethics. London: Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 5-34 (2017)
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Abstract

I contrast the methodology that prioritizes truth—interpretation—with the prioritization of objectivity or explanation by validity—explication. Explication, the cornerstone of philosophy, allows us to identify the basic concept ETHICS and DHARMA as what theories of ethics and dharma disagree about: THE RIGHT OR THE GOOD. This is objective: what we converge on while we disagree. Four basic moral theories that differ on this concept are: Virtue Ethics, Consequentialism (both teleological), Deontology and Bhakti/Yoga (both procedural). They are mirror images of each other. If we explicate Indian thought, we find that moral theory differentiates Indian philosophies. Interpretation, which prioritizes truth, is subjective and not basic to philosophy, and gives rise to the idea that Indian thought is religious, and bereft of moral theory.

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Shyam Ranganathan
York University

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