Employing Zen Methods to Teach New Natural Law Theory

Philosophical Practice, No. 3, No. 1

Posted: 5 Oct 2007 Last revised: 9 Dec 2012

See all articles by Jude Chua

Jude Chua

Nanyang Technological University - National Institute of Education - Policy and Leadership Studies

Abstract

Rinzai Zen Buddhism employs intellectual puzzles or exercises called koans to assist with the attainment of spiritual insight or enlightenment. This paper borrows a similar pedagogical strategy to help students grasp certain foundational moral insights. It showcases an ethics koan, i.e., an activity designed to help the person grasp in a practical manner the reality of normative first principles that identify basic goods and evils, called the principles of natural law in the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition. The koan requires that student complete a chain novel about a fictional character's absurd life. The effect is that students acknowledge their own grasp of what is beneficial and what is pointlessly futile. Such pedagogical strategies are especially beneficial for professional students, who are less inclined to abstract philosophizing. It ends with suggestions on how to employ new electronic media to present these koans.

Keywords: Zen Koan, Natural Law, Pedagogy, Teaching Philosophy

Suggested Citation

Chua, Jude, Employing Zen Methods to Teach New Natural Law Theory. Philosophical Practice, No. 3, No. 1. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1019409

Jude Chua (Contact Author)

Nanyang Technological University - National Institute of Education - Policy and Leadership Studies ( email )

1 Nanyang Walk
Singapore, 637616
Singapore
67903246 (Phone)
68969151 (Fax)

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
564
PlumX Metrics