The House We Live In - Virtue, Wisdom, and Pluralism - Seth Zuihō Segall

The House We Live In - Virtue, Wisdom, and Pluralism - Seth Zuihō Segall

On Virtue

The House We Live In - Virtue, Wisdom, and Pluralism - Seth Zuihō Segall

Seth Zuihō Segall [+-]
Independent Scholar
Seth Zuihō Segall completed a PhD in clinical psychology from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in 1977 and was ordained as a Zen Buddhist priest in 2016. He served on the faculties of Southeast Missouri State University (1978), Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (1979-1980), the Yale University School of Medicine (1981-2009), and SUNY Purchase (2012-2017) and is a former Director of Psychology at Waterbury Hospital (1998-2004) and a former President of the New England Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (1998-2000). He is currently a contributing editor for Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, a review editor for The Humanistic Psychologist, the science writer for the Mindfulness Research Monthly, and a teacher at the New York Insight Meditation Society.

His publications include Encountering Buddhism: Western Psychology and Buddhist Teachings (2003, SUNY Press), Buddhism and Human Flourishing: A Modern Western Perspective (Palgrave MacMillan, 2020), and Living Zen: A Practical Guide to Balanced Existence (Rockridge, 2020) as well as articles for the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, The Humanistic Psychologist, H-Net, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, and other periodicals.

Author’s page: His blog, The Existential Buddhist (, publishes essays on Buddhist philosophy, meditation, art, politics, and literature.


Values arise out of social conditions and change with social circumstances, but that does not mean they are entirely socially contingent. They are also grounded in relatively unchanging aspects of human nature and the universal existential circumstances all human societies must address. Values can have core aspects that are universal to all cultures, as well as phenotypical expressions particular to a time and place. The chapter begins by exploring how values are internalized, reflected on, and refined. Values can be judged as good or bad according to the degree to which they promote individual and collective flourishing. Virtues are constellations of habit and value that promote and partially define flourishing. There can be no definitive list of the virtues, since virtues are partially dependent on the whole-way-of-life that constitutes a culture, but there can nevertheless be a core set of virtues that are common to all cultures—a common thread running through the philosophies of antiquity and the world religions of today. The chapter closely examines three ethical philosophies of antiquity—Aristotelean, Buddhist, and Confucian—to discern their commonalities and differences. It then proposes and examines seven universal moral virtues—courage, benevolence, conscientiousness, temperance, equanimity, truthfulness, and justice—in terms of their relation to flourishing.

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Segall, Seth Zuihō. On Virtue. The House We Live In - Virtue, Wisdom, and Pluralism. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 21-65 Aug 2023. ISBN 9781800503465. Date accessed: 24 Jun 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.44123. Aug 2023

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