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AnimalsA History$
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Peter Adamson and G. Fay Edwards

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199375967

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199375967.001.0001

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Illuminating Community

Illuminating Community

Animals in Classical Indian Thought

Chapter:
(p.63) Chapter Three Illuminating Community
Source:
Animals
Author(s):

Amber D. Carpenter

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199375967.003.0005

This chapter presents a discussion of the rich tradition of reflection on animals in ancient Indian philosophy, which deals with but is not restricted to the topic of reincarnation. At the center of the piece is the continuity that Indians saw between human and nonhuman animals and the consequences of this outlook for the widespread idea of nonviolence. Consideration is also given to the philosophical interest of fables centrally featuring animals, for example the Pañcatantra. In general it is suggested that ancient Indian authors did not, unlike European counterparts, focus on the question of what makes humans unique in contrast to all other animals, but rather on the ethical and metaphysical interconnections between humans and various kinds of animals.

Keywords:   India, Buddhism, Hinduism, nonviolence, vegetarianism

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