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Parr Center Presents: Keshav Singh (University of Alabama at Birmingham), “Oneness and the Foundations of Ethics”
October 5 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
The “why be moral?” question is one of the most recalcitrant of the foundational questions of ethics. If it is ever outside our self-interest to act morally, then what reason do we have to do so? In this talk, I suggest that the recalcitrance of the “why be moral?” question comes from a tension between two features of Western Enlightenment thought: moral universalism and strong individualism. Drawing on the Sikh philosophical tradition, I argue that the “why be moral?” question becomes much simpler and easier to answer if we reject the Western assumption that there is a fundamental separation between individuals in favor of a view on which there is a fundamentaloneness to all of us. Thus, insofar as we care about accounting for a universally binding morality, moral philosophers should question the strong individualism of Western thought and take a framework of oneness more seriously.