Forum Philosophicum

Volume 16, Issue 2, Autumn 2011

Eric Baldwin
Pages 99-110

On Buddhist and Taoist Morality

Arthur Danto argues that all Eastern philosophies – except Confucianism – fail to accept necessary conditions on genuine morality: a robust notion of agency and that actions are praiseworthy only if performed voluntarily, in accordance with rules, and from motives based on the moral worth and well-being of others. But Danto’s arguments fail: Neo-Taoism and Mohism satisfy these allegedly necessary constraints and Taoism and Buddhism both posit moral reasons that fall outside the scope of Danto’s allegedly necessary conditions on genuine morality. Thus, our initial reaction, that these Eastern philosophies offer genuine moral reasons for action, is sustained rather than overturned.