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Varnadharma, Niskama Karma and Practical Morality

A Critical Essay on Applied Ethics by: Rajendra Prasad

This work analyses some basic concepts of Indian ethics. It shows that a Varnadharma cannot be both natural and obligatory, the prescription of acting desirelessly makes any desireless action justified, the ‘jivan-mukti’ concept is inapplicable, etc.

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ISBN: 9788124601259
Year Of Publication: 1999
Edition: 1st
Pages : xii, 291
Bibliographic Details : Bibliography
Language : English
Binding : Hardcover
Publisher: D.K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Size: 23 cm.
Weight: 600

Overview

This book provides a bold, original and ciritical analysis of some basic concepts of Indian ethics, lifting them up from their regional roots to a general philosophical level, along with illuminatingly creative analysis of some practical issues of moral living. Professor Prasad shows, on logical grounds that a varnadharma cannot be both natural and obligatory, the prescription of acting desirelessly makes any desireless action justified, acting desirelessly itself cannot be a duty, the concept of jivanmukti is inapplicable, etc. In respect of ethical practice, he argues, with fair amount of rigour and originality, for moral anger and forgiveness as a conditional virtue, basing secularism on the primacy of the ethical, and preferring a morally good professional to one who is good as a professional or as a person. His plea for legitimacy of profit in business and non-hyperactivism in applying ethics throws useful light on business ethics. His down-to-the-earth approach makes the book a work on applied ethics and his conceptual openness makes it one on the basics. Its simple style makes it useful not only for students and teachers of philosophy but also for general readers with interest in Indian philosophy and culture.

Contents

From the General Editor
Preface
Part I
Some Basics of Indian Normative Ethics
1. Varnadharma as Natural and Obligatory: How Maintainable?
2. Prescription of Nishkama Karma: Moral or Non-Moral?
Teleological or Deontological?
3. Jivanmukti: Problems of Normativity and Instantiation
4. Dreamless Sleep as Empirical Analogue of Jivanmukti:
How Much Appropriate?
5. Commonly Presupposed Identity of Reality and Value: Aurobindo’s Renovated Characterisation Stated and Examined
Part II
Ethics in Practice
6. Inculcating Secularism: The Buddhist Way
7. Inculcating a General Dharma Forgiveness as Moral Cement: Wronging, Rupturing and Rejoining Social Relationships
8. Ethics in Professional Practice: Being a Good Professional, a Morally Good Professional, and a Morally Good Person
9. A Problem Area: Business Ethics and the Limits of Applied Ethics
Part III
The Background Conceptual wFramework
10. Acknowledgement, Application, and Morally Justified Violation of a Moral Principle
Bibliography of Author’s Writings

Meet the Author
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1926
Rajendra Prasad, educated at Patna University and University of Michigan, retired from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur where he held the chair of the Senior Professor of Philosophy and Head, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences. He has been a Fulbright/Smit-Mundt Fellow, a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow, thrice a National Lecturer of the UGC, a National Lecturer and Senior Fellow of the ICPR and, until recently, a National Fellow of the latter. Professor Prasad has been General President of Indian Philosophical Association, Akhil Bharatiya Darsan Parishad, and Indian Philosophical Congress. His publications include Darshana Shastra Ki Ruparekha (Hindi), Regularity, Normativity and Rules of Language, Karma, Causation and Retributive Morality, Aesthetics, Morality and Jivanmukti, and Ends and Means in Private and Public Life (edited). Besides, he has published numerous scholarly papers in several learned journals in India and abroad. He has edited the journals Indian Review of Philosophy and Darsanika Traimasika, and is currently a co-editor of Indian Philosophical Quarterly and Paramarsa.
Books of Rajendra Prasad