Bad Karma: Thinking Twice about the Social Consequences of Reincarnation Theory

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University Press of America, 2005 - Philosophy - 236 pages
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Bad Karma: Thinking Twice About the Social Consequences of Reincarnation Theory is a cautionary study set in the context of the history of ideas. The thesis of the book is that rising popularity of reincarnation theory in American culture poses a significant danger- especially in light of the dramatic transitions brought about by the globalization of corporate values in the 21st century. America faces an immediate future in which displacement and social stratification will be a prominent feature of the social life. Viewed through the prism of reincarnation theory, desperate poverty may come to be seen not as an outrage to justice, but as an expression of justice- justice on a "deeper" level. Those born into wretched circumstances will be seen as having made choices as to their birth; brutal and deprived lives will be seen as people "working out their karma." The book opens with a philosophical analysis of the doctrines of both reincarnation and karma. The history of the doctrines in India will be reviewed, and various emergences of reincarnation doctrine in the West will be presented. Special attention brought to why none of these emergences took root in Western culture. Finally, the development of Buddhism in America is assessed, with special attention given to whether an American version of Buddhism necessarily entails a belief in reincarnation.

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The Drama of Reincarnation
The Dance of Consequence

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About the author (2005)

William Garrett is Professor of Philosophy and Religion at John F. Kennedy University in California. He has taught and lectured in the Bay Area for thirty years. Professor Garrett holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Religion from the California Institute of Integral Studies.

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