Merina Islam

Abstracts

3 The Double Standard: Ethical Issues and Gender Discrimination in Traditional Western Ethics

Authors: Merina Islam

Abstract:

The feminists have identified the traditional western ethical theories as basically male centered. Feminists are committed to develop a critique showing how the traditional western ethics together with traditional philosophy, irrespective of the claim for gender neutrality, all throughout remained gender-biased. This exclusion of women’s experiences from the moral discourse is justified on the ground that women cannot be moral agents, since they are not rational. By way of entailment, we are thus led to the position that virtues of traditional ethics, so viewed, can nothing but rational and hence male. The ears of traditional Western ethicists have been attuned to male rather than female ethical voices. Right from the Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel and even philosophers like Freud, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and many others the dualism between reason-passion or mind and body started gaining prominence. These, according to them, have either intentionally excluded women or else have used certain male moral experience as the standard for all moral experiences, thereby resulting once again in exclusion of women’s experiences. Men are identified with rationality and hence contrasted with women whose sphere is believed to be that of emotion and feeling. This act of exclusion of women’s experience from moral discourse has given birth to a tradition that emphasizes reason over emotion, universal over the particular, and justice over caring. That patriarchy’s use of gender distinctions in the realm of Ethics has resulted in gender discriminations is an undeniable fact. Hence women’s moral agency is said to have often been denied, not simply by the act of exclusion of women from moral debate or sheer ignorance of their contributions, but through philosophical claims to the effect that women lack moral reason. Traditional or mainstream ethics cannot justify its claim for universality, objectivity and gender neutrality the standards from which were drawn the legitimacy of the various moral maxims or principles of it. Right from the Platonic and Aristotelian period the dualism between reason-passion or mind and body started gaining prominence. Men are identified with rationality and hence contrasted with women whose sphere is believed to be that of emotion and feeling. Through the Association of the masculine values with reason (the feminine with irrational), was created the standard prototype of moral virtues The feminists’ critique of the traditional mainstream Ethics is based on this charge that because of its inherent gender bias, in the name of gender distinctions, Ethics has so far been justifying discriminations. In this paper, attempt would make upon the gender biased-ness of traditional ethics. But Feminists are committed to develop a critique showing how the traditional ethics together with traditional philosophy, irrespective of the claim for gender neutrality, all throughout remained gender-biased. We would try to show to what extent traditional ethics is male centered and consequentially fails to justify its claims for universality and gender neutrality.

Keywords: Gender, Ethics, traditional, male-centered

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2 Philosophy and Value Education for Children in India

Authors: Merina Islam

Abstract:

In this paper, an attempt is made to draw out the contemporary relevance of philosophy in school education of India. This paper attempt is made to inquire into the importance of philosophy for schoolchildren in the Indian cultural context. As education in philosophy for children is useful for teaching the acquisition of knowledge from the information provided, for questioning of rules in different contexts, and for the analysis of facts encountered in daily life. Ethical attitudes can neither be derived from the information provided about the moral rules, nor do they result from a practice of unquestioning obedience It includes some studies done in this field and also reports on philosophy. Many European countries emphasise on the above said theme. There are lots of work and research done by many philosophers on philosophy for children. Indian values system is different from the West and more important than others. Education has become a tool to achieve efficiency in all walks of human life whether social, political, religious or philosophical. Every nation started developing its own specific set of educational values. For India it is very necessary to increase philosophical thinking study and research. Philosophy could make significant contribution, particularly in relation to children's moral development because the Indian curriculum currently neglects this aim. A teacher can play an important role in promoting this discussion because a teacher has the capacity to influence students with their thoughts and personality and engages them in these activities. Philosophy needs to be included in the curriculum and have demonstrated cognitive and social gains in children who were explored to philosophy in their schooling.

Keywords: Education, Philosophy, ethical attitude, moral value

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1 An Ecological Grandeur: Environmental Ethics in Buddhist Perspective

Authors: Merina Islam

Abstract:

There are many environmental problems. Various counter measures have been taken for environmental problems. Philosophy is an important contributor to environmental studies as it takes deep interest in meaning analysis of the concept environment and other related concepts. The Buddhist frame, which is virtue ethical, remains a better alternative to the traditional environmental outlook. Granting the unique role of man in immoral deliberations, the Buddhist approach, however, maintains a holistic concept of ecological harmony. Buddhist environmental ethics is more concerned about the complete moral community, the total ecosystem, than any particular species within the community. The moral reorientation proposed here has resemblance to the concept of 'deep ecology. Given the present day prominence of virtue ethics, we need to explore further into the Buddhist virtue theory, so that a better framework to treat the natural world would be ensured. Environment has turned out to be one of the most widely discussed issues in the recent times. Buddhist concepts such as Pratityasamutpadavada, Samvrit Satya, Paramartha Satya, Shunyata, Sanghatvada, Bodhisattva, Santanvada and others deal with interdependence in terms of both internal as well external ecology. The internal ecology aims at mental well-being whereas external ecology deals with physical well-being. The fundamental Buddhist concepts for dealing with environmental Problems are where the environment has the same value as humans as from the two Buddhist doctrines of the Non-duality of Life and its Environment and the Origination in Dependence; and the inevitability of overcoming environmental problems through the practice of the way of the Bodhisattva, because environmental problems are evil for people and nature. Buddhism establishes that there is a relationship among all the constituents of the world. There is nothing in the world which is independent from any other thing. Everything is dependent on others. The realization that everything in the universe is mutually interdependent also shows that the man cannot keep itself unaffected from ecology. This paper would like to focus how the Buddhist’s identification of nature and the Dhamma can contribute toward transforming our understanding, attitudes, and actions regarding the care of the earth. Environmental Ethics in Buddhism presents a logical and thorough examination of the metaphysical and ethical dimensions of early Buddhist literature. From the Buddhist viewpoint, humans are not in a category that is distinct and separate from other sentient beings, nor are they intrinsically superior. All sentient beings are considered to have the Buddha-nature, that is, the potential to become fully enlightened. Buddhists do not believe in treating of non-human sentient beings as objects for human consumption. The significance of Buddhist theory of interdependence can be understood from the fact that it shows that one’s happiness or suffering originates from ones realization or non-realization respectively of the dependent nature of everything. It is obvious, even without emphasis, which in the context of deep ecological crisis of today there is a need to infuse the consciousness of interdependence.

Keywords: Buddhism, environmental problems, deep ecology, Pratityasamutpadavada

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