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Consequences of CompassionAn Interpretation and Defense of Buddhist Ethics$
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Charles Goodman

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195375190

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195375190.001.0001

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Śāntideva and After

Śāntideva and After

(p.89) 5 Śāntideva and After
Consequences of Compassion

Charles Goodman (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the views of êāntideva, the most sophisticated and influential of all Indian Buddhist ethicists. His writings contain explicit statements of classical act-utilitarianism. êāntideva uses a destructive critique of personal identity to help motivate his ethical views, a strategy that anticipates Parfit. êāntideva adopts a more explicitly and wholeheartedly consequentialist strategy than Asanga, endorsing strong forms of agent-neutrality and clearly articulating the balancing of interests and maximization characteristic of consequentialist reasoning. This leads him to allow generally valid rules to be broken in a wider class of cases than Asanga would permit. The chapter also contains a brief discussion of the ethical views articulated in the Tibetan lam rim literature. Lam rim texts seem difficult to read in an eudaimonist way, and contain passages that support the assignment of intrinsic value to virtue.

Keywords:   êāntideva, act-utilitarianism, consequentialism, Parfit, personal identity, agent-neutrality, maximization, lam rim

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