Download PDF by Charles Goodman: Consequences of Compassion: An Interpretation and Defense of


By Charles Goodman

To many Westerners, the main beautiful teachings of the Buddhist culture pertain to ethics. Many readers have drawn proposal from Buddhism's emphasis on compassion, nonviolence, and tolerance, its crisis for animals, and its versions of advantage and self-cultivation. there was, notwithstanding, controversy and confusion approximately which Western moral theories resemble Buddhist perspectives and in what respects. during this publication, Charles Goodman illuminates the family members among Buddhist thoughts and Western moral theories. each model of Buddhist ethics, says Goodman, takes the welfare of sentient beings to be the single resource of ethical tasks. Buddhist ethics can therefore be stated to be in accordance with compassion within the feel of a motivation to pursue the welfare of others. in this interpretation, the basic foundation of many of the types of Buddhist ethics is equal to that of the welfarist family members of moral theories that analytic philosophers name 'consequentialism.' Goodman makes use of this speculation to light up numerous questions. He examines the 3 sorts of compassion practiced in Buddhism and argues for his or her implications for very important concerns in utilized ethics, particularly the justification of punishment and the query of equality.

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This essence, in turn, includes the functioning of the three aspects of the human soul: the vegetative soul, which consists of our capacities for digestion and growth; the animal soul, which involves capacities of perception and locomotion; and the rational soul, which can form beliefs and decide what to do. Since the last of these is what is distinctive about human life, it plays the central role in defining the function of humans, and therefore in determining the nature of the good life. All of these assertions must be understood in the context of Aristotle’s social conception of the self.

We may nevertheless still regard it as an important insight that the source of moral norms is the objective value of the welfare of all sentient beings. It is possible to preserve this view about the source of morality while giving a different answer to some of these problematic cases by adopting a different method of deriving the right from the good. Such a move results in an indirect form of consequentialism. So, for example, one might say that the way to determine what to do involves first ascertaining the set of rules that, if everyone followed them, would produce the best overall consequences.

Some Western Ethical Theories 33 With these terminological issues out of the way, we can consider the substantive question of whether hedonism is a satisfactory theory of wellbeing. Although hedonism has had some defenders, many people have found it hard to swallow. Is it really true that being happy is the only thing that can make your life go better for you? Many philosophers have thought that it is good to know the truth, to be in love, and to appreciate objects of beauty, for example, and that the goodness of these states does not wholly depend on the happiness they produce.

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Consequences of Compassion: An Interpretation and Defense of Buddhist Ethics by Charles Goodman

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