Buddhism is incredibly interesting to study, especially through a Western lens. David Chapman makes an interesting argument here about Buddhism as a form of virtue signalling.
His sobering argument applies to much more than Buddhism too.
By “ethics,” in quotes, I mean talk about ethics, rather than what people actually do. This page explains “ethics” as signaling: personal advertisement. We all display “ethicalness” as a strategy for looking like attractive mates and coworkers, by signaling class status, tribal loyalty, and superior personality traits.
Although this post is part of a series on leftish “Buddhist ethics,” most of it applies equally to all ethical posturing. As you read it, you can imagine the small adjustments required for Christian rightish “ethics,” or for secular centrist “ethics.”
People really, really want Buddhism to be about ethics, even though it isn’t. Anyone who has read more than a couple Buddhist books knows:
- Consensus “Buddhist ethics” does not contradict leftish secular morality on any issue.
- Consensus “Buddhist ethics” contradictstraditional Buddhist morality on most issues.
From this, one ought to conclude that “Buddhist ethics” is not Buddhist at all…
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