14 Pages

Inherited Responsibility, Karma and Original Sin

My aim in this paper is to show how it is possible that we can: (i) inherit responsibility for what our cultural ancestors have done; (ii) pass on karma to others who will live in the future; and (iii) be born in a state of original sin. My method will be to sketch how these three doctrines can be explained using the reincarnation thesis which I reject, and then to offer a speculation in which X's being a reincarnation of person Y is replaced by X's being partly constituted by participation in a collective entity which contains Y as an earlier stage. The result will then provide speculative reconstructions of the three doctrines.