I guess my personal interest in the subject is related to the potentially positive role that Buddhist thought could play in the field of contemporary ethics, and by extension, political and social philosophy. Academia is very global now. China and India are on the rise. I don't think it is acceptable any more to think of ethics as a western discipline, complete with its three major thinkers - Aristotle, Kant and Bentham/Mill. But of course, this is still largely how people think - aside from China, where there has been a huge Confucius/Mencius revival (incidentally, on the back of a great deal of comparative work with Aristotle and the virtues tradition).
The Buddha belongs in this discourse, in the canon of moral philosophy, as one of the great moral teachers humanity has known. Buddhists need to learn how to speak in the language of contemporary ethics, if only because they can greatly enrich that field.
But are philosophers of contemporary ethics willing or able to speak the language of the Buddha? This requires differentiating a hierarchy between the common person (pṛthagjana) who has not attained the path of seeing, the learner (śaikṣa) who has, and the non-learner (aśaikṣa) who has completed the paths. Related to this, a distinction is also maintained between the general laity and the renunciates who are actively engaged in the path of liberation. The reciprocal relationship between these two communities involves the former generating merit by providing for the material needs of the latter.
The path of liberation also situates ethical conduct in the context of the threefold training in higher ethical conduct (adhiśīlaśikṣā), higher mind (adhicittaśikṣā) and higher discernment (adhiprajñāśikṣā). Here, Porphyry's degrees of virtues offer some possible points of comparison. He differentiates between (i) civic, (ii) purificatory, (iii) contemplative, and (iv) paradigmatic virtues. It seems that Porphery and the Neoplatonists placed Aristotle's ethics and the Peripatetic school primarily within the first level of civic virtues.
Of course, Porphyry's levels of purification and contemplation assume a metaphysical worldview that is quite different from Buddhism. Nevertheless, the notion of hierarchy and an emphasis on the renunciation of worldly/corporeal pleasures and mundane goals on the higher levels of development is explicit.