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  • 2018DarlasPhD

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Caring for the experience phenomenological discipline and ethical development: a comparative study of EUDE (Educación Universal para el Desarrollo Ético) and Buddhaghosacārya’s Path of Purification (Visuddhimagga)

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Gilda Elizabeth Henriquez Darlas
Publication date2018
Number of pages239
Awarding Institution
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This thesis attempts to construct a conceptual philosophical framework for a pre- existing secular2 programme of ethical development for children called EUDE, by comparing its main principles and practices with the Path of Purification (Visuddhimagga), the work of a 5th century CE Buddhist scholar named Buddhaghosacārya. The comparison will help to make coherent sense of the EUDE practices and provide a conceptual framework for its methodology. The resulting comparison of both programmes will show the importance of phenomenological discipline in ethical development, that is, the programmatic and practical strategies for developing an ethical response to interaction with others.
EUDE and Buddhaghosacārya share many of the same concerns and offer similar approaches to ethical development. They both address the conditions in experience that underlie moral choices and actions. Both work towards dismantling harmful conditions in experience through techniques that bring discipline, vision and understanding. Therefore, to a certain extent, the thesis is a comparative exploration of two practical disciplinary ethical programmes: The EUDE programme for children aged four to fifteen, and the Vissudhimaggha for Buddhist monks as well as the large virtuous (followers of sīla) Buddhist community. However, it is important to clarify that this thesis is more than a simple comparative exercise; it is a constructive effort to use Buddhaghosacārya’s systematic phenomenological methodology to provide a conceptual grounding for EUDE. This is because, although up to this point EUDE has been a highly successful and practical programme, its conceptual and philosophical principles have yet to be fully systematised and articulated. In a fascinating and productive way, this Buddhist thinker helps in that endeavour.
My aim is to show how both programmes involve scrutiny of the conditions of thought and action as the means to make precise and structured interventions in ethical development. Their sustained attention to the psychological factors prior to decision-making or character formation allows for a very close comparative project of identifying and analysing ethical resources. Thus, we will see how the techniques for analytical attention to the conditions in experience in both programmes makes possible systematic ethical change, underlying an important contribution to the study of an essential area of ethical development.