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Ethical correlates of Indian metaphysics with special emphasis on Samkhya, Advaita and Visistadvaita.

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The work undertakes an examination of Indian metaphysical theories and their relationship to ethical ideas and moral conduct, as these operate in Indian thought. Special account is taken of the samkhya, advaita and visistadvaita systems, the metaphysical conceptions presupposed in these systems, and the ethical theories proposed by them. The peculiarities characteristic of each system in terms of both metaphysics and ethics are set out and examined in terms of the vital concepts of dharma, karma and mok~a. It is demonstrated that, in the case of each system the original classical formulations, as supported by a relatively consistent dialectic through the centuries down to modern times, in fact accentuate and harden the distinctions among the systems . se fuat 1he three systems appear to be supporting distinctly differing patterns of ethical behaviours. The safukhya is seen to be supporting a somewhat simplistic model of life-denying ethics as flowing from its metaphysical premises, while the visistadvaita, with its clear accent on theism, gives the impression of a more positive attitude in ethical thought and practice. Its ethical concerns, however, are seen to be markedly individualistic in character and operation. The advaita system, with its singular peculiarity of a splitlevel theoretic orientation, is seen to vac~te between a negative withdrawal from life, and a mor-e positive concern towards life in the world. The complex character of advaita metaphysical constructs, in their relation to the more ~ractical aspects of life, are seen to be related to the operation of some stresses and tensions reflected at the individual and social levels.


Thesis (M.A.)-University of Durban-Westville, 1988.


Metaphysics., Advaita., Samkhya., Philosophy, Hindu., Theses--Philosophy.