There are competing assertions, within comparative ethics, concerning what species of moral theory (or normative ethics) Buddhism best resembles. Damien Keown and Charles Goodman have put forth persuasive arguments for virtue ethics and consequentialism respectively. Still others have seen, especially in the early Buddhist stories of moral exemplars, a kind of ethical “particularism” that would resist systemization. It may be asked, as well, how such classifications account for ethics on the ground—what some in the West would call “practical wisdom.” Whatever category of ethics Buddhist theorizing may be seen to occupy, the question must still be put—just how does Buddhism fit? Is this an instance of a complex tradition being forced into a Procrustean bed? If so, or if not, what are the goals of such comparisons? For instance, in what ways could the classification of Buddhist ethics serve to extend, challenge, or resolve issues within standard philosophical categories?
Charles Goodman (SUNY Binghamton)
Christopher Gowans (Fordham University)
Barry Schwartz (Swarthmore College)
Jin Y. Park (American University)
Graham Priest (CUNY Graduate Center)