"Objectivity" and objective moral values

A forum for discussion of Buddhist ethics.
User avatar
Wayfarer
Posts: 3664
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: "Objectivity" and objective moral values

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:14 am

Malcolm wrote:The secular west is a natural consequence of the Scottish Enlightenment...
All true, sir. And also not to be forgotten, Charles Darwin was very much influenced by ‘the Scottish Enlightenment’, unlike Alfred Russel Wallace, who rejected it, and was rejected in turn.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki-roshi

User avatar
liuzg150181
Posts: 229
Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2016 7:41 am

Re: "Objectivity" and objective moral values

Post by liuzg150181 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:00 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:02 pm
Wayfarer wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:33 pm


The whole issue that I am trying to understand is 'how did scientific materialism become a substitute for religion?' It's really not a simple thing to understand. The Secular West is the expression of a conditioning process which unfolded over millenia and has arrived at a state of - let's see - false consciousness. So I'm trying to understand how that happened, and I've read quite a bit on this subject. The 'rise of nominalism' is one component.
The secular west is a natural consequence of the Scottish Enlightenment. In particular, it can be traced to the popularity of the rediscovery of Epicurean atheism in the writings of Lucretius's De rerum natura:

Whilst human kind
Throughout the lands lay miserably crushed
Before all eyes beneath Religion- who
Would show her head along the region skies,
Glowering on mortals with her hideous face-
A Greek it was who first opposing dared
Raise mortal eyes that terror to withstand,
Whom nor the fame of Gods nor lightning's stroke
Nor threatening thunder of the ominous sky
Abashed; but rather chafed to angry zest
His dauntless heart to be the first to rend
The crossbars at the gates of Nature old.
And thus his will and hardy wisdom won;
And forward thus he fared afar, beyond
The flaming ramparts of the world, until
He wandered the unmeasurable All.
Whence he to us, a conqueror, reports
What things can rise to being, what cannot,
And by what law to each its scope prescribed,
Its boundary stone that clings so deep in Time.
Wherefore Religion now is under foot,
And us his victory now exalts to heaven.
Deism was merely a polite name for 18th century atheists, and the term "nature's god" is just a term used for natural laws of physics and the like:
RATH: So can you tell us - back in 1776, what did nature's God refer to?

STEWART: So nature's God is one - a deity that operates entirely through laws - natural laws - that are explicable. And we have to approach this god through the study of nature and also evidence and experience. So it's a dramatically different kind of deity from that you find in most revealed religions.
https://www.npr.org/2014/07/13/33113385 ... atures-god
Huh? At one point a decade ago I was a dilly-dally Deist(with the idea of unity of the phenomenon of universe and self),and checked out Deism forum. It seems the members were rather antagonistic towards atheism and found more resonance with Monotheistic religion followers such as Christians. At the very least they believe a Creator God as first cause(albeit rather hands off with the creation).

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 26690
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: "Objectivity" and objective moral values

Post by Malcolm » Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:22 pm

liuzg150181 wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:00 pm

Huh? At one point a decade ago I was a dilly-dally Deist(with the idea of unity of the phenomenon of universe and self),and checked out Deism forum. It seems the members were rather antagonistic towards atheism and found more resonance with Monotheistic religion followers such as Christians. At the very least they believe a Creator God as first cause(albeit rather hands off with the creation).
This is a modern, reconstructed Deism. You should read the book written by Stewart. It is really interesting. He shows very clearly the Deism of Jefferson and Ethan Allen is just atheism.
The real story of America’s philosophical origins properly begins in ancient Greece, and its first protagonist is the most famous atheist in the history of modern thought.
Stewart, Matthew. Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic (p. 80). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.

It is also important to recall that Candrakīrit quips in the Prasannapāda that the primary difference between materialists of his day and Madhyamakas is that materialists rejected karma, while Madhyamakas accepted it.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

User avatar
liuzg150181
Posts: 229
Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2016 7:41 am

Re: "Objectivity" and objective moral values

Post by liuzg150181 » Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:23 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:22 pm
liuzg150181 wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:00 pm

Huh? At one point a decade ago I was a dilly-dally Deist(with the idea of unity of the phenomenon of universe and self),and checked out Deism forum. It seems the members were rather antagonistic towards atheism and found more resonance with Monotheistic religion followers such as Christians. At the very least they believe a Creator God as first cause(albeit rather hands off with the creation).
This is a modern, reconstructed Deism. You should read the book written by Stewart. It is really interesting. He shows very clearly the Deism of Jefferson and Ethan Allen is just atheism.
The real story of America’s philosophical origins properly begins in ancient Greece, and its first protagonist is the most famous atheist in the history of modern thought.
Stewart, Matthew. Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic (p. 80). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.

It is also important to recall that Candrakīrit quips in the Prasannapāda that the primary difference between materialists of his day and Madhyamakas is that materialists rejected karma, while Madhyamakas accepted it.
I see,basically just like "secular Buddhism"......
Btw,had googled abt the book and the author,sound interesting. Shall read it if i have the chance.

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 26690
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: "Objectivity" and objective moral values

Post by Malcolm » Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:53 pm

liuzg150181 wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:23 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:22 pm
liuzg150181 wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:00 pm

Huh? At one point a decade ago I was a dilly-dally Deist(with the idea of unity of the phenomenon of universe and self),and checked out Deism forum. It seems the members were rather antagonistic towards atheism and found more resonance with Monotheistic religion followers such as Christians. At the very least they believe a Creator God as first cause(albeit rather hands off with the creation).
This is a modern, reconstructed Deism. You should read the book written by Stewart. It is really interesting. He shows very clearly the Deism of Jefferson and Ethan Allen is just atheism.
The real story of America’s philosophical origins properly begins in ancient Greece, and its first protagonist is the most famous atheist in the history of modern thought.
Stewart, Matthew. Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic (p. 80). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.

It is also important to recall that Candrakīrit quips in the Prasannapāda that the primary difference between materialists of his day and Madhyamakas is that materialists rejected karma, while Madhyamakas accepted it.
I see,basically just like "secular Buddhism"......
Btw,had googled abt the book and the author,sound interesting. Shall read it if i have the chance.
Secular Buddhists reject karma and rebirth, unlike Madhyamikas. But it would not be wrong to call Buddhadharma the deism of ancient India.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

User avatar
liuzg150181
Posts: 229
Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2016 7:41 am

Re: "Objectivity" and objective moral values

Post by liuzg150181 » Sun Jan 07, 2018 5:07 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:53 pm
liuzg150181 wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:23 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:22 pm


This is a modern, reconstructed Deism. You should read the book written by Stewart. It is really interesting. He shows very clearly the Deism of Jefferson and Ethan Allen is just atheism.



Stewart, Matthew. Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic (p. 80). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.

It is also important to recall that Candrakīrit quips in the Prasannapāda that the primary difference between materialists of his day and Madhyamakas is that materialists rejected karma, while Madhyamakas accepted it.
I see,basically just like "secular Buddhism"......
Btw,had googled abt the book and the author,sound interesting. Shall read it if i have the chance.
Secular Buddhists reject karma and rebirth, unlike Madhyamikas. But it would not be wrong to call Buddhadharma the deism of ancient India.
Very interesting PoV,since BuddhaDharma rejects first cause,including an eternal ontological Creator God whiling acknowledging and respecting(though not taking refuge) Vedic/Hindu deities as samsaric being?

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 26690
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: "Objectivity" and objective moral values

Post by Malcolm » Sun Jan 07, 2018 6:02 pm

liuzg150181 wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 5:07 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:53 pm
liuzg150181 wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:23 pm

I see,basically just like "secular Buddhism"......
Btw,had googled abt the book and the author,sound interesting. Shall read it if i have the chance.
Secular Buddhists reject karma and rebirth, unlike Madhyamikas. But it would not be wrong to call Buddhadharma the deism of ancient India.
Very interesting PoV,since BuddhaDharma rejects first cause,including an eternal ontological Creator God whiling acknowledging and respecting(though not taking refuge) Vedic/Hindu deities as samsaric being?

Those who followed Epicurean philosophy closely also rejected creation by a creator:
That in no wise the nature of all things
For us was fashioned by a power divine-
Book V, De rerum natura

Jefferson owned five copies of this book, and wrote a famous letter, I too am an Epicurean, in 1819.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

MiphamFan
Posts: 885
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2015 5:46 am

Re: "Objectivity" and objective moral values

Post by MiphamFan » Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:57 pm

Wouldn't Carvaka be a lot closer to Epicureanism?

I still think Pyrrhonism is the closest Hellenistic philosophy to Buddhism. Pyrrho went to India with Alexander, studied with sravakas there. He had the tetralemma, he points out that Dogmatists who affirm things (Stoics) and who deny things (Epicureans) both talk past one another, and that one cannot really pick either. Not exactly Madhyamaka but closer to it than affirming or denying phenomena. Also, Pyrrhonists use the famous story of Apelles to illustrate how just like Apelles serendipitously managed to paint the horse's mouth foam by throwing his paint brush after giving up, Pyrrhonists found ataraxia by giving up trying to follow some dogmatic philosophy and instead opposing them all to one another.

User avatar
Kim O'Hara
Former staff member
Posts: 3593
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:09 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: "Objectivity" and objective moral values

Post by Kim O'Hara » Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:07 pm

MiphamFan wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:57 pm
... I still think Pyrrhonism is the closest Hellenistic philosophy to Buddhism. ...
There's a thread on this on the other wheel, from three years ago, if you're interested - https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=22563

:coffee:
Kim

User avatar
Wayfarer
Posts: 3664
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: "Objectivity" and objective moral values

Post by Wayfarer » Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:17 pm

Pyrrhonism: How the Ancient Greeks Reinvented Buddhism (Studies in Comparative Philosophy and Religion) https://www.amazon.com/dp/0739125079/re ... uAbRRBE0MA

On my to-read list.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki-roshi

MiphamFan
Posts: 885
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2015 5:46 am

Re: "Objectivity" and objective moral values

Post by MiphamFan » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:45 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:07 pm
MiphamFan wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:57 pm
... I still think Pyrrhonism is the closest Hellenistic philosophy to Buddhism. ...
There's a thread on this on the other wheel, from three years ago, if you're interested - https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=22563

:coffee:
Kim
That thread talks more about Stoicism. They also don't mention the similarities between Madhyamaka and Pyrrhonism, which I guess would be expected of Theravadins. I read the Adrian Kuzminski book years ago, I liked it.

I think if Pyrrho really was influenced by Buddhist sravakas, that gives further evidence to the idea that proto-Mahayana ideas were around long before the first Mahayana sutras. Of course, we don't know much about Pyrrho himself.

Christopher Beckwith also wrote a book on connections between Pyrrho and Buddhism recently, which I haven't read yet. The excerpt available is interesting though: http://assets.press.princeton.edu/chapters/s10500.pdf

User avatar
Wayfarer
Posts: 3664
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: "Objectivity" and objective moral values

Post by Wayfarer » Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:33 am

Miphamfan wrote: I read the Adrian Kuzminski book years ago, I liked it.
Good, I'll take that on board. I have the Kindle preview and will consider buying it, as it's not in my university library.

I read a long review of the Beckwith book and am not so sure about it - it seems more up the pop philosophy end of the spectrum. Whereas Kuzminski seems an interesting independent scholar.

Just to sum up a few points from this thread - my feeling is that Western culture doesn't have a philosophy as such. What it has is a development program. And it's really good, as far as it goes. Nicholas Kristof says that despite all the doom and gloom, 2017 was the best year ever, in terms of living standards:
Every day, the number of people around the world living in extreme poverty (less than about $2 a day) goes down by 217,000, according to calculations by Max Roser, an Oxford University economist who runs a website called Our World in Data. Every day, 325,000 more people gain access to electricity. And 300,000 more gain access to clean drinking water.
He also tells this story:
I had a visit the other day from Sultana, a young Afghan woman from the Taliban heartland. She had been forced to drop out of elementary school. But her home had internet, so she taught herself English, then algebra and calculus with the help of the Khan Academy, Coursera and EdX websites. Without leaving her house, she moved on to physics and string theory, wrestled with Kant and read The New York Times on the side, and began emailing a distinguished American astrophysicist, Lawrence M. Krauss.

I wrote about Sultana in 2016, and with the help of Professor Krauss and my readers, she is now studying at Arizona State University, taking graduate classes.
These kinds of stories oblige me to acknowledge that I do believe in progress and liberal economic systems. But at the same time, Western culture has lost its spiritual centre. But that's why I think whatever is developed has to be both scientifically capable and spiritually aware.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki-roshi

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests