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Title: Ethics in Schopenhauer and Buddhism
Author: Hutton, Kenneth
ISNI:       0000 0004 2674 1245
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2009
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In the following thesis I outline Schopenhauer’s ethics in its metaphysical context and in contrast to ethics based on egoism. I look at criticisms of Schopenhauer’s philosophy which have emerged quite recently, and some of which (if valid) would undermine Schopenhauer’s compassion-based moral theory. I have explained these criticisms and offered a defence of Schopenhauer. In order to take up Schopenhauer’s claim of affinity with Buddhist philosophy, I outline first of all early Buddhist then Mahāyāna ethics focusing on the latter’s central idea of compassion. It has been suggested by some scholars that there are specific problems in Buddhist ethics which undermine the idea of compassion and I explain, then attempt to counter, these claims with specific reference to Śāntideva and his rejection of egoism as a means of acting in a moral way or of finding liberation from suffering. I then address recent criticisms of Śāntideva’s Bodhicaryāvatāra, especially the idea that the specific role of compassion in his ethics and its soteriological role are illogical – an idea which I argue against. Finally I compare the core ideas of Schopenhauer’s solution to the problem of suffering with what seems similar in Śāntideva. In doing this, I examine whether or not Schopenhauer is right in claiming convergence between Buddhism and his own philosophy, especially in the area of soteriology as it relates to ethics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BQ Buddhism ; BJ Ethics