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Buddhist Moral Philosophy


Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to:

  • BA students in Philosophy: Global and Comparative Philosophy, who have successfully completed their first year, and also completed at least 10 EC’s of the mandatory components of their second year, including Language of Thought, and Concepts of Selfhood.

  • BA students in Filosofie, who have successfully completed their first year, and also completed at least 10 EC’s of the mandatory components of their second year, including Comparative Philosophy, and Analytische filosofie or Philosophy of Mind.

  • Pre-master’s students in Philosophy who are in possession of an admission statement, and for whom this course is part of their programme.


This course studies Indian Buddhist conceptions of virtue, with attention to the relationship between virtue and happiness/well-being. Buddhist authors and textual traditions to be studied include the Pali canon, Buddhaghosa, Śāntideva, Asaṅga and Vasubandhu. In addition to secondary sources by scholars of Buddhist ethics, we will also read contemporary philosophical scholarship on virtue, well-being and emotion as a way of considering whether and to what extent Buddhist insights are relevant to contemporary interests, and whether and to what extent contemporary categories and conversations can help us understand the insights of Indian Buddhist authors.

Course objectives

This course aims to introduce students to Indian Buddhist accounts of virtue and well-being.

Students who successfully complete the course will have a good understanding of:

  • give students a strong introductory understanding of Indian Buddhist approaches to virtue;

  • develop students ability to apply insights cross-culturally between Western and Indian Buddhist theorizing about virtue.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • explain orally and in writing basic Buddhist insights about virtue and well-being;

  • develop plausible cross-cultural connections between Buddhist and Western texts.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required.

Assessment method


Two papers and class participation


The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of several subtests:

  • Midterm essay assignment: 40%

  • Final essay assignment: 40%

  • Participation (including a class presentation): 20%


The resit consists of one examination for all parts at once, consisting of a paper. The mark for the resit replaces all previously earned marks. Class participation and completion of practical assignments such as the oral presentation is a mandatory requirement for taking the resit.
Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examination cannot take the resit.

Inspection and feedback

Exams inspections will be scheduled at the request of the student.

Reading list

Literature will be made available through Brightspace at the start of the course.


Enrolment through uSis for this course is not possible. Students are requested to submit their preferences for the third-year electives by means of an online registration form. They will receive the instruction and online registration form by email (uMail account); in June for courses scheduled in semester 1, and in December for courses scheduled in semester 2. Registration in uSis will be taken care of by the Education Administration Office.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the information bar at the right hand side of the page.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc., contact the Education Administration Office Huizinga


Not applicable.