This volume is concerned with Indian discussions in the areas of ethics, politics and aesthetics. The Indian philosophers had a good deal to say about the theory of value as they vigorously discussed topics like the ends of life and the relation of virtuous action to those ends. A traditional Hindu classification recognizes four classes of values: dharma (mortality, virtue), artha (wealth, power), kama (pleasure) and moska (liberation). Moska is usually held to be the highest value and is extensively discussed in the paradigm Indian philosophical texts. Indian political and legal theory is concerned with the values of arth and dharma. Aesthetic pleasure is one of the subject matters of a developed body of writing on aesthetic theory. Kasa (flavor), the special feeling or enjoyment that pervades an artwork or is aroused in its contemplator, is commonly seen as detached from the aims and concerns of ordinary life, with some even suggesting that it provides a foretaste of the bliss of moksa.
The selections in this volume discuss Indian treatments of such topics in the theory of value as proper ends of life, the relation of dharma and moksa, liberation and pleasure, the sources of our knowledge of right and wrong, the ethics of non-violence, the status of the supra-moral, egoism and altruism, the theory of rasa, aesthetic experience and catharsis.