in Rules and ethics
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In this afterword, James Laidlaw comments on the arguments of the book from his perspective as an ethnographer of Jainism – an eminently ruly ethical tradition – and as one of the leading figures in the recent anthropology of ethics. He reiterates the arguments of Bernard Williams and Michel Foucault that modern Western moral thought has become unhealthily concentrated on law-like obligation. Humanity’s range of moral experience is far wider, as the anthropology of ethics has sought to demonstrate. And yet, that should not lead us to neglect the rich variety of ways in which rules, of various kinds, form an often crucial part of many ethics and many projects of an ethical self, as he details.

Rules and ethics

Perspectives from anthropology and history