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Durham e-Theses
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A comparative study of the philosophy of action of Madhusudana Sarasvati and the ethical thought of Joseph Butler

Sharma, S. S. (1955) A comparative study of the philosophy of action of Madhusudana Sarasvati and the ethical thought of Joseph Butler. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



We have made a comparative study of the ethical and moral teachings of two great thinkers - one British and the other Indian: Joseph Butler and Liadliusudana Sarasvati. They were selected because there is substantial agreement between them on the basis of virtue, the concept of duty, on the relation between ethics and religion and on the fundamental topics. In the first half of the thesis we have given an exposition of Butler's moral philosophy explaining the hierarchy of the different principles of action in human nature and Butler's refutation of Hobbes's psychological egoism. We have also tried to determine whether virtue, according to Butler, can be equated with self-love or benevolence and then to establish the nature of conscience according to him. The discussion has been concluded by showing that virtue, in his view, is its own end and is to be pursued for its own sake. In the second half we have first discussed Madliusudana' s ethics and then compared the two thinkers. In explaining Madliusadana' s ethics it has been shown that virtue according to him lies in doing the duties of the station to which one belongs in life. In other words it means doing one's caste- duties, which are determined by one's fundamental nature. Neither self-love nor benevolence are permissible motives for actions. An action is to be done because it ought to be done. Lastly it has been shown that according to Hadliusudana morality ultimately culminates in the realisation of God. 'Follow-nature' is the dictum of both thinkers. Virtue lies in acting according to nature and vice in deviation from it. Again they both advocate the cultivation of benevolence though with a difference in the psychological attitude. A comparison has also been drawn between Butler's conscience and Madhusudana's enlightened intellect (buddhi). Finally it has been shown that according to both the ultimate object of man's search is God Himself.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1955
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Sep 2013 16:04

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