Tag: Ethics

BuddhismPhilosophy

A Buddha Land in This World (New Book)

My new book, A Buddha Land in This World: Philosophy, Utopia, and Radical Buddhism, has just been published. Here is the abstract/back cover blurb: In the early twentieth century, Uchiyama Gudō, Seno’o Girō, Lin Qiuwu, and others advocated a Buddhism that was radical in two respects. Firstly, they adopted a more or less naturalist stance with respect to Buddhist doctrine and related matters, rejecting karma or other supernatural beliefs. And secondly, they held political and economic views that were radically anti-hegemonic, anti-capitalist, and revolutionary. Taking the idea of such a “radical Buddhism” seriously, A Buddha Land in This World: Philosophy,...
PhilosophySocial Issues

A Right to Hate?

In August, French blogger Pauline Harmange published a booklet titled Moi les hommes, je les déteste (Me, men, I loathe them), which caused quite a stir in France (and a little bit outside France as well). The book – supposedly – is a protest against misogyny (hatred of women), by taking up the opposite point of view of misandry (hatred of men). “Supposedly”, because I’m not sure exactly about the book’s arguments as it is no longer available and I have thus been unable to read it. In any case, it is not this book itself that is the topic...
Philosophy

On the Idea of an Unconditional (Moral) Rule

In his Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals Kant argued that the moral law (assuming there is one) must be unconditional and universal. As part of that argument he made a famous distinction between categorical and hypothetical imperatives. Imperatives are “ought” (or “should”) statements, such as “you ought to tell the truth”. The difference between the two kinds of imperatives is that hypothetical imperatives depend on a specific kind of condition, namely a desire, while categorical imperatives are universal, unconditional, and absolute. Thus, “if you want human civilization to survive the 21st century, you ought to eat the rich” is...
Climate ChangePhilosophySocial Issues

Human Extinction

Apparently, an increasing number of people say that they believe that climate change will cause human extinction. To what extent all of these people are genuinely convinced about this I don’t know, although, for reasons explained elsewhere, I expect that for most of them it is a desperate attempt to find meaning and make sense of an increasingly meaningless and senseless world more than a genuine conviction. Regardless, the topic of human extinction is an interesting one. How likely is human extinction really? And would human extinction actually be a bad thing? These are the two questions I will focus...
Philosophy

Dao and Second-Order Consequentialism

After king You of Zhou fell in love with Bao Si he exiled his wife, Queen Shen. The disgraced Shen family retaliated in 771 BCE by attacking and killing king You. The Zhou dynasty never recovered – although nominally it remained in power for another five centuries, this period was characterized by failing authority and nearly continuous war. Perhaps not coincidentally, this was also the most fruitful period in the intellectual history of China and is commonly recognized as the Golden Age of Chinese philosophy. Confucius, Mencius, Mozi, Laozi, Zhuangzi, Xunzi, and many other of China’s most famous philosophers lived...