Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
My thesis challenges the conception that Gandhi's theory and practice of nonviolence is, and must be, rooted in a particular religious perspective. I undertake to reconstruct a consistent theory of nonviolence, which starts with Gandhi's theory, but is not centred in, or expressed through, Hindu thought. My approach is based on secular moral arguments for nonviolence, and ecological ideas concerning the interconnectedness and interdependence of nature. I develop a set of principles using both Gandhi and Western environmentalists, such as Aldo Leopold and Arne Naess. In my view, what is lacking in Gandhi's theory is an environmental ethical outlook, and what is lacking in Leopold's and Naess' environmental ethics is an overall theory of nonviolence. By identifying and connecting the mutually reinforcing ethical and philosophical concepts of these thinkers, my theory integrates two significant bodies of work in order to address the morality of the institution of war and its effects on ecosystems. I develop ten principles of nonviolence and ecology which support the argument that in order to protect nature from damage it is important to resolve human conflict through nonviolence.
Ramanathapillai, Rajmohan, "Nonviolence, ecology and war: Extending Gandhian theory" (1997). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 2915.