Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Dockstader, J
Australasian Journal of Philosophy
Tiantai Metaethics
Optional Fields
This paper is a contribution to the emerging field of comparative metaethics, which aims to analyse the metaethical views of philosophical traditions outside the Western mainstream. It argues that the metaethical views implicit in the mediaeval Chinese school of Tiantai Buddhism can be reconstructed in contemporary terms in order to develop two novel views. These views are moral dialetheism and moral trivialism. The taxonomy of contemporary metaethical views, in epistemic terms, is exhausted by either partial success, or complete error, theories. They claim, respectively, either that some moral judgments are true (and some false) or that all moral judgments are false. There are also noncognitivist and nonfactualist views, claiming that all moral judgments are technically neither true nor false. In opposition to this moral truth gap, moral dialetheism and moral trivialism offer a moral truth glut. These views say, respectively, that some moral judgments and their negations are true and that all moral judgments and their negations are true. The upshot of this metaethical reconstruction of Tiantai Buddhism is that it allows us to complete the contemporary metaethical taxonomy, and to contribute to the therapeutic goal of finding ways to utilize metaethical reflection for the sake of release from the pathologies of morality.
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