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Buddhist Ethics
 The craving for individuality (including
life, pleasure, power) produces suffering—
which is ended through virtue and meditation
 Being virtuous requires us to respect ourselves
and others, and to be patient, moderate, and to
maintain a clear and balanced mind
 Personal enlightenment consists not in merely
following rules but in seeing one’s place in the
universe
Challenges to Ethical Theorizing:
Anti-foundationalism
 Morality is not a pursuit of abstract principles;
it is an attempt to give our lives order. This
requires that it assumes changeable values
 Instead of discussing morality in terms of acts
or judgments based on rules or principles, we
should focus on developing a good character
or maintaining personal relationships
Virtue Ethics
(Aristotle)
To
be moral means being sensitive to the
social and personal dimensions of life
“Rational” actions are not based on abstract
principles but on moderation (golden mean)
– Objection: this does not provide the specific
moral guidance needed in difficult situations
Feminist Ethics
Carol Gilligan
Morality
Nel Noddings
is not about abstract principles,
rights, or impartial (typically male) theories of
justice, but about caring for persons and
maintaining relationships (Gilligan)
The (feminine) virtue of caring for others in
specific situations is the basis upon which all
ethical thinking is grounded (Noddings)
Implications
 Different ethical theories highlight different
features of moral situations. For example:
Abortion: what makes a being morally
significant? whose interests need to be
considered? what impact will the decision
have on the development of one’s character?
Euthanasia: is life always better than death?
should consequences or how we would like
to be treated influence our judgments?