The essay is a review discussion of IndianEthics in the context of a recent volume of essays. The attempt is to identify some of the issues that are now on the frontier of Indianethics or that are likely to appear on that frontier in the coming years.
Featuring leading scholars from philosophy and religious studies, The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of IndianEthics dispels the myth that Indian thinkers and philosophers were uninterested in ethics. -/- This comprehensive research handbook traces Indian moral philosophy through classical, scholastic Indian philosophy, pan-Indian literature including the Epics, Ayurvedic medical ethics, as well as recent, traditionalist and Neo-Hindu contributions. Contrary to the usual myths about India (that Indians were too busy being religious to care (...) about ethics), moral theory constitutes the paradigmatic differentia of formal Indian philosophy, and is reflected richly in popular literature. Many of the papers make this clear by an analytic explication that draws critical comparisons and contrasts between classical Indian moral philosophy and contemporary contributions to ethics. -/- By critically addressing ethics as a sub-discipline of philosophy and acknowledging the mistaken marginalization of Indian moral philosophy, this handbook reveals how Indian contributions can illuminate contemporary philosophical research on ethics. -/- Unlike previous approaches to Indianethics, this volume is organized in accordance with major topics in moral philosophy. The volume contains an extended introduction, exploring topics in moral semantics, the philosophy of thought, (metaethical and normative) ethical theory, and the politics of scholarship, which serve to show how the diversity of Indian moral philosophy is a contribution to the discipline of ethics. With an overview of Indian moral theory, and a glossary, this is a valuable guide to understanding the past, present and future research directions of a central component of Indian philosophy. (shrink)
Ethics and the History of Indian Philosophy (Motilal Banarsidass 2007). Regretfully, it is not an uncommon view in orthodox Indology that Indian philosophers were not interested in ethics. This claim belies the fact that Indian philosophical schools were generally interested in the practical consequences of beliefs and actions. The most popular symptom of this concern is the doctrine of karma, according to which the consequences of actions have an evaluative valence. Ethics and the History (...) of Indian Philosophy argues that the orthodox view in Indology concerning Indianethics is false. The first half the book deals with theoretical issues in studying ethics: defining moral terms, understanding the subject matter of ethics so as to transcend culturally specific substantive commitments and touches upon issues of cross-cultural hermeneutics and translation. The second half consists of a systematic explication of the moral philosophical aspects of nine major Indian philosophical schools. I argue that “dharma” in its various uses in Indian philosophy is always rationally treated as a moral term—even in so called “ontological” employments of the term as seen in Buddhism and Jainism. In understanding “dharma” in this manner, the Indian philosophical tradition is replete with different versions of moral realism that fit tidily with other philosophical commitments of Indian philosophers. Pains are taken to show the breath of moral philosophical disagreement in this tradition. On a comparative note, some Indian moral philosophy resembles realist approaches of the Western tradition (such as the Non-natural realism of Neo-Platonism, or the Naturalism of Utilitarianism). Out of the major Indian philosophical schools, a slim minority are shown to be committed to moral irrealism while some are shown to regard their entire philosophical orientation as firmly planted within moral philosophy (such as Jainism, Buddhism, Purva Mimamsa and Yoga). In response to those who would argue that what Indian philosophers meant by “dharma” is very different from what moral philosophers in the West have meant by “ethical” or “good,” I argue that this is as vacuous as noting that Utilitarians have a different conception of the good from Deontologists. If philosophy is concerned with theoretical debate, as I argue it is, philosophical terms function to articulate such disagreements. The various seemingly desperate uses of “dharma” in the Indian tradition are no longer confusing or disorderly when we understand the theoretico-philosophical function of this term in Indian philosophical disputes. -/- The second edition contains an additional chapter that addresses the colonial and political context of the study of IndianEthics. (shrink)
The recent revival of interest in the importance of virtues marks a shift of substance and method in thinking about it. The shift is away from discussion of rules and principles and focused on a discussion of traits, character and conditions of their excellence. This article attempts at unfolding the exact nature of an Indianethics of virtue, which is yet to be explored in a systematic way. This enquiry into the exciting terrain of Indian philosophy inevitably (...) leads to the interesting debate regarding the very possibility of an Indianethics of virtue. (shrink)
Two fundamental problems in all thought can be identified: One, life and world affirmation and second, life and world negation. Indian approach is characterized as the second and hence it is claimed that moral problems have not been persistently pursued and successfully tackled in India. Points like the advaita concept of liberation, law of karma, the system of social stratification, stages of life and duties associated with them are picked up to show that theIndian system is ethically bankrupt. But (...) along with the science of salvation, the science of statecraft (arthasastra) and four objectives of human life are emphasized. The two functions of knowledge namely, theoretical and practical (arthaparicchiti and phalaprapti) referring to fact and value are recognized and it is held that knowledge of facts lead to the pursuit of values. Value is taken as the ‘object of desire’. The concept of svadharma and ahimsa are basic to it. The ‘ought of ethics’ (Dharma) is foundational to all Indian thought. A comprehensive value system consisting of spiritual, moral, material and social values and the distinction between instrumental and intrinsic values are recognized. Contemporary ethical issues relating to human rights and women, suicide, abortion and the host of problems thrown open by science and biotechnology find proper place in it. (shrink)
In the coming years people will live in an ever-globalizing world with possibilities and challenges that did not exist before. The contours of this new world are already with us—capital flow across the world with lightning speed; mass media events broadcast anywhere in the globe as if they happened next door; tests, food habits, consumer goods, cultural production and political ideas floating across the globe unhindered; the boundaries of nation states becoming more and more porous; and the Internet being a (...) major source of rapid unbound communication. All sectors of the society are affected by this global society, the technological revolution. In this connection ethics becomes an increasingly im portant issue in global decision making. The author suggests some solutions on the basis of Indian culture. (shrink)
In this lesson, I review critical responses to Kant that can be understood as having non-Western, Indian roots. One criticism is articulated by the famous contemporary moral philosopher, Thomas Nagel. While Nagel is not a Buddhist, his criticism of Kant’s ethics is Buddhist in essence. The other response is based on an appreciation of the philosophy of Yoga. Yoga and Kantian thought are both versions of a kind of moral philosophy, which we could call Explanatory Dualism. Moreover, Yoga (...) and Kantian moral philosophies attempt to defend Normative Compatibilism, which is a version of Nonnaturalism. Yet, Kant relies upon the idea of Humanity, which is a naturalistic concept, while the Yogi defers to the nonspecisit, abstraction of the Lord to account for moral standing. (shrink)
Hidden in the cave : the Upaniṣadic self -- Dangerous truths : the Buddha on silence, secrecy and snakes -- A cloak of clever words : the deconstruction of deceit in the Mahābhārata -- Words that burn : why did the Buddha say what he did? -- Words that break : can an Upaniṣad state the truth? -- The imperfect reality of persons -- Self as performance.
The Indian mediascape has dramatically changed in the past 15 years. Gradual privatization and deregulation have resulted in increased entertainment-driven rather than public-service oriented news. This article explores the ethical issues Indian journalists face in such a globalized media environment. Our research was based on interactive workshops we conducted in various Indian cities. Findings from these workshops reveal that although journalists encounter serious ethical issues, media ethics is not a topic being widely discussed in Indian (...) newsrooms and TV stations. Marketing pressures, the tabloidization of news, and management and economic pressures are affecting journalism ethics and issues such as accountability, independence, and conflict of interests. A lack of professional training, especially ethics training, is affecting journalists' understanding of concepts such as privacy and accuracy. (shrink)
The American environmental movement has a longstanding tradition of respect for American Indians. Recently, however, there has been a noticeable erosion of that tradition. The most volatile issues in the Indian/environmentalist controversey at present are those involving the right of many Indians to hunt and fish unrestricted by state or federal conservation regulations. Especially where endangered species areinvolved, some environmentalists have been quick to recommend that this unique privilege accorded to Indians be curtailed. While I share a deep concem (...) for the preservation of endangered species and ecosystems, I suggest that the environmental movement has so far been insensitive to the concems of the American Indian community. Rather than simply seeking to take away rights to which Indians havebeen entitled for decades, environmentalists should be prepared to negotiate on such matters. As an example, I suggest that-in exchange for the Indians’ voluntary surrender of some of their treaty rights--environmentalists might agree to seek legislation opening national forest lands to Indians who wish to live subsistence life styles, as some Alaskan wildemess lands are now open to the Inuit. (shrink)
This article focuses on ethical issues surrounding the selling and buying of human organs. The author argues that most people who sell their organs in India do so in order to pay already existing debts. The transaction is only temporarily an exchange of “life for life,” and most “donors” are back in debt soon after the operation. The author discusses the flexible ethics that reduce reality to dyadic transactions and the purgatorial ethics that collapse real and imaginary exploitation (...) in the service of complex interests. He also offers a sophisticated discussion of the ethics of publicity and public ethics. He emphasizes the lack of factual information, intentional manipulation of information, and the dissemination of kidney panics and kidney scandals, especially by the new developing bioauthorities and bioethical brokers. (shrink)
This volume examines various aspects of the Indian Constitution from the perspective of political theory. The essays view the Constitution as a political or ethical document, thereby reflecting configurations of power and interests or articulating a moral vision.
Max Weber has shown that the informing spirit of Western capitalism originated from the Christian Reformation. The capitalist spirit can be regarded as a stand-in of Western modernity as a whole. Western modernity was initially the outcome of the theology of Calvinism. Calvinist modernity inspired political revolutions that since the seventeenth century irreversibly transformed Western feudal societies into bourgeois democratic nation-states. Something comparable happened in India in the nineteenth century with the rediscovery of Vedanta. Rediscovery, reinterpretation and public dissemination of (...) Vedanta constituted the Indian version of a Reformation. In the beginning of the twentieth century this Vedantic Reformation inspired the revolutionary political movement, which sought to free India from foreign domination. Vedanta was regarded as informing the spirit of Indian modernity because Vedanta emphasizes individual emancipation. This same emancipation was to imply collective emancipation from the bonds of colonialism and tyranny. These values of Vedantic modernity remain an important source of inspiration for the socio-political emancipation of the whole of the Indian population. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that, instead of standing as an exemplar of contemporary environmentalism, North American Indian voices on the environment offer insights concerning ecological relationships that can be brought to bear on theories of environmental value and the politics of environmentalism. I argue that environmentally orthodox representations of Native views are further complicated by the metaphysics of local ecological knowledge. I then argue that moral ecologism, a normative view focused on interdependence throughout the living world and evidenced (...) by contemporary American Indian voices, can help align traditional environmentalism with the contemporary scientific understanding of ecological relationships. (shrink)
India has promoted its power through intervention in neighboring countries under the cloak of morality. The United States, Great Britain, and Russia have nonetheless tacitly endorsed India's role as the policing force in the region. Does this recognition justify India's actions toward its weaker and smaller neighbors?
The present study was aimed at gaining a broad opinion regarding bioethical reasoning amongst student fraternity. These students had been admitted to medical schools after completion of their high school . Ethnically all the students were of Indian origin though they belonged to a diverse socio-economic-cultural background. The mean age of students was 18 years and a total of 125 first year medical students were questioned in 1998 , using the questionnaire designed by Macer with some modifications. The observations (...) revealed the fact that even though fair amount of awareness regarding the wide perspectives of bioethics did prevail amongst many, yet some sense of ignorance was reflected as well. However, the respondents were divided on various sensitive issues like cloning, in vitro fertilisation etc. The results suggest enforcement of both individual and collective efforts to arouse the consciousness of students regarding bioethics and application of bioethical decision making to dilemmas posed by science and technology. (shrink)