Cārvāka on Values

Pradeep P. Gokhale

in Lokāyata/Cārvāka

Published in print October 2015 | ISBN: 9780199460632
Published online January 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780199085507 | DOI:
Cārvāka on Values

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This chapter deals with the value perspectives of the Cārvākas. Against the popular view that Cārvākas have no moral stand-point, it argues how they do have one. Yet, corresponding to the diversity in the Cārvāka epistemology, one has to acknowledge diversity in the value perspectives of the Cārvākas. The centrality of hedonism in the Cārvāka axiology is acknowledged, though such hedonism need not be restricted to its sensuous variety. This chapter also uses the parameters of pleasure used by Jeremy Bentham in his Hedonistic calculus in order to understand the nature of Cārvāka hedonism. Another important theme in the Cārvāka approach to values is their theory of puruṣārthas (human goals). This chapter argues that though Cārvākas do not accept dharma (religious morality based on scriptures) and mokṣa (emancipation) as substantial puruṣārthas they can be accepted as ‘modal goals’ in the Cārvāka scheme, whereas artha (wealth) and kāma (pleasure) would remain the substantial goals.

Keywords: hedonism; parameters of pleasure; puruṣārthas; kāma; artha; dharma; mokṣa; Jeremy Bentham

Chapter.  11236 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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