The Primacy of Practice
Colloquium | April 30 | 5-6:30 p.m. | 370 Dwinelle Hall
Kwong-loi Shun, Philosophy, UC Berkeley
Co-sponsored by the Center for Buddhist Studies and the Department of Philosophy
Chinese ethical traditions are characterized by a mode of ethical reflection that is driven primarily by a concern to make a direct ethical difference to our lives, rather than to understand our ethical lives as an object of study. We will discuss some distinctive features of this mode of reflection that stand in contrast to certain common strands in contemporary moral philosophizing. The discussion will touch on some or all of the following topics: the idea of ethical outlook, the idea of enlightenment, anger, compassion, the distinction between first and third person. While the discussion will focus on Confucianism, some of its basic ideas also apply to Daoism (as represented by the Zhuangzi) and Chan (or Zen) Buddhism (as represented by the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch).