These visually enhanced audio recordings were recorded on day 5 of the Middle Way Study Retreat in August 2013. They include a broad discussion of why we need a new approach to ethics, why currently dominant approaches to it are inadequate, and how the Middle Way can provide an approach to ethics. They also tackle examples of practical moral issues, to show how the Middle Way can be used to provide incrementally objective justification of moral judgements.
1. The Current Confusion about Ethics
There is a widespread avoidance of ethics, and substitution of other kinds of judgement (e.g. of law, psychology or professionalism) because of an unnecessary assumption that ethical positions are merely private choices and cannot be justified.
1. The Current Confusion about Ethics as audio only:
Download audio: 5_1 Confusion about Ethics
2. The Trouble with Moral Naturalism
Moral naturalism dominates academic approaches to ethics today. However, in deludedly attempting to merely describe ethics or base it on facts, it fails to acknowledge the unavoidable prescription of conventional values that accompanies the mere analysis of ethics. Instead of trying to reduce ethics to facts, we need to recognise the interdependence of facts and values, and develop an ethics that strikes a balance between being realistic and being challenging.
2. The Trouble with Moral Naturalism as audio only:
Download audio: 5_2 The Trouble with Moral Naturalism
3. Facts and values
The distinction between facts and values has influenced our thinking since Hume made it in the eighteenth century. However, there is no justification for this distinction in practice. It is an abstract logical distinction inappropriately applied to practical judgements.
3. Facts and values as audio only:
Download audio: 5_3 Facts and Values
4. Absolutism and relativism
How the Middle Way involves avoiding both absolutism and relativism.
4. Absolutism and relativism as audio only:
Download audio: 5_4 Absolutism and Relativism
5. The Universality of Ethics
How Middle Way ethics can be universal in application.
5. The Universality of Ethics as audio only:
Download audio: 5_5 The Universality of Ethics
6. The Middle Way and Buddhist Ethics
The strengths and weaknesses of Buddhist ethics using the Middle Way as a criterion.
6. The Middle Way and Buddhist Ethics as audio only:
Download audio: 5_6 The Middle Way and Buddhist Ethics
7. Practical Ethics using the Middle Way
How the Middle Way can be used to make and justify moral decisions. Includies discussion of approaches to some moral issues such as vegetarianism and abortion.
7. Practical Ethics using the Middle Way as audio only:
Download audio: 5_7 Practical Ethics using the Middle Way
8. Middle Way Politics
How Middle Way Ethics can also be applied to political decisions.
8. Middle Way Politics as audio only:
Download audio: 5_8 Middle Way Politics
9. Discussion of Ethics Discussion following the talk, including Katja, Barry, Julian and Tim. Topics discussed include whether there are only 3 types of moral theory, justice, moral progress and the use of principles.
9. Discussion of Ethics as audio only:
Download audio: 5_9 Discussion of Ethics