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MoonshadowsConventional Truth in Buddhist Philosophy$
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The Cowherds

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199751426

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199751426.001.0001

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Ethics for Mādhyamikas

Ethics for Mādhyamikas

(p.221) 14 Ethics for Mādhyamikas

Bronwyn Finnigan

Koji Tanaka (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter investigates implications of the Madhyamaka doctrine of two truths for ethics, focusing on the possibility of justifying ethical precepts given the doctrine of the two truths and the role of that doctrine in ethical practice. The chapter defends a kind of ethical contextualism but demonstrates its limitations in delivering a justificatory basis with suasive normative force. It argues that the proper response to this problem requires reconceiving the relationship between ethics and the two truths and focusing on the instantiation of precepts in practice. The chapter concludes by explicating the function of the bodhisattva precepts as active values that are practiced in response to a conventional world.

Keywords:   ethics, Madhyamaka, ethical contextualism, normative force, active values, virtue, bodhisattva precepts, Mahāyāna ethics

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