Buddhism and Political Theory

Hardcover | May 16, 2016

byMatthew J. Moore

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Despite the recent upsurge of interest in comparative political theory, there has been virtually no serious examination of Buddhism by political philosophers in the past five decades. In part, this is because Buddhism is not typically seen as a school of political thought. However, as Matthew Moore argues, Buddhism simultaneously parallels and challenges many core assumptions and arguments in contemporary Western political theory. In brief, Western thinkers not only have a great deal to learn about Buddhism, they have a great deal to learn from it. To both incite andfacilitate the process of Western theorists engaging with this neglected tradition, this book provides a detailed, critical reading of the key primary Buddhist texts, from the earliest recorded teachings of the Buddha through the present day. It also discusses the relevant secondary literature onBuddhism and political theory (nearly all of it from disciplines other than political theory), as well as the literatures on particular issues addressed in the argument.Moore argues that Buddhist political thought rests on three core premises--that there is no self, that politics is of very limited importance in human life, and that normative beliefs and judgments represent practical advice about how to live a certain way, rather than being obligatory commandsabout how all persons must act. He compares Buddhist political theory to what he sees as Western analogues - Nietzsche's similar but crucially different theory of the self, Western theories of limited citizenship from Epicurus to John Howard Yoder, and to the Western tradition of immanence theoriesin ethics. This will be the first comprehensive treatment of Buddhism as political theory.

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Despite the recent upsurge of interest in comparative political theory, there has been virtually no serious examination of Buddhism by political philosophers in the past five decades. In part, this is because Buddhism is not typically seen as a school of political thought. However, as Matthew Moore argues, Buddhism simultaneously paral...

Matthew J. Moore is Associate Professor of Political Science at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:208 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:May 16, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190465514

ISBN - 13:9780190465513

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"Matthew Moore's Buddhism and Political Theory is a ground-breaking contribution to the growing literature on comparative political thought that situates Buddhism centrally in scholarly debates long dominated by Western traditions. The book introduces unfamiliar readers to Buddhism and thehistory of Buddhist theories of government, from the earliest accounts of Buddha's teachings to 20th century practices, and from Burma to Thailand to the Tibetan government in exile. This platform allows Moore to inaugurate a critical conversation between Buddhism and Western thinkers about thenature of the self, ethics, and the value of political action that opens up a rich terrain for political theorists to explore." --Michaele L. Ferguson, author of Sharing Democracy