Ethics and virtue in classical Indian thinking

Authored by: Purushottama Bilimoria

The Handbook of Virtue Ethics

Print publication date:  November  2013
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9781844656394
eBook ISBN: 9781315729053
Adobe ISBN: 9781317544777


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Indian thinkers, like their counterparts elsewhere, recognized morality’s pervasiveness throughout human life and culture, and did not shy away from enquiry into the nature of morality, right and wrong, and good and bad. On the side of “good” they placed such values as happiness, health, survival, progeny, pleasure, calmness, friendship, knowledge and truth. The “bad” were, more or less, opposites or disvalues: misery, suffering, sickness, injury, death, barrenness, pain, anger, enmity, ignorance, error and untruth. These positive and negative qualities are universalized, in principle at least, for all sentient beings, for it was felt that the highest good (summum bonum) is possible when the whole world can enjoy the good things that the cosmos has to offer.

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