Life, Sex and Ideas The Good Life without God

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2003-04-03
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
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"A distinctive voice somewhere between Mark Twain and Michel Montaigne" is how Psychology Today described A.C. Grayling. In Life, Sex, and Ideas: The Good Life Without God, readers have the pleasure of hearing this distinctive voice address some of the most serious topics in philosophy--and in our daily lives--including reflections on guns, anger, conflict, war; monsters, madness, decay; liberty, justice, utopia; suicide, loss, and remembrance. A civilized society, says Grayling, is one which never ceases having a discussion with itself about what human life should best be. In this book, Grayling adds to this discussion a series of short informal essays about ethics, ideas, and culture. A recurring theme is religion, of which he writes "there is no greater social evil." He argues, for instance, that liberal education is better than religion for inculcating moral values. "Education in literature, history, and appreciation of the arts," he says, "opens the possibility for us to live more reflectively and knowledgeably, especially about the nature and variety of human experience. That in turn increases our capacity for understanding others better, so that we can treat them with respect and sympathy, however different their outlook on life." Thought provoking rather than definitive, these essays don't tell readers what to think, but only note what has been thought about how it is best to live. A person who does not think about life, the author reminds us, is like a stranger mapless in a foreign land. These brief and suggestive essays offer us the outlines of a map, with avenues of thought that are a pleasure to wander down.

Author Biography

A.C. Grayling is a British literary journalist and university professor of philosophy, who contributes the weekly column "The Reason of Things" to The London Times and writes frequently for Financial Times and The New York Review of Books. He is a Reader in Philosophy at Birbeck College, University of London, and Supernumerary Fellow of St. Anne's College, Oxford. His books include Meditations for the Humanist: Ethics for a Secular Age.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. xi
Moral Matters
Emotionp. 3
Moral Educationp. 6
Emancipation and Ethicsp. 11
Symbolsp. 16
Religionp. 20
Credulityp. 24
Fastingp. 27
Meatp. 30
Evilp. 33
Luxuryp. 36
Gamesp. 39
Marriagep. 42
Sexp. 45
Benevolencep. 60
Moralityp. 63
Public Culture
Identityp. 69
Culturesp. 72
Conservationp. 76
Teachersp. 82
Intellectualsp. 84
Community and Society
Politicsp. 91
Votingp. 94
Utopiap. 97
Profitp. 101
Powerp. 104
Protestp. 106
Justicep. 109
Libertyp. 112
Pluralismp. 116
Anger and War
Angerp. 121
Conflictp. 124
Gunsp. 126
Warp. 129
War's Causesp. 132
Western Victoriesp. 135
Triumphp. 138
Safetyp. 141
War Crimesp. 144
Vengeancep. 146
Capital Punishmentp. 148
Bystandersp. 151
Slaveryp. 154
Experiencep. 157
Grief and Remembrance
Suicidep. 163
Lossp. 166
Obsequiesp. 169
Remembrancep. 172
Nature and Naturalness
Naturalnessp. 177
Naturep. 181
Monstersp. 184
Madnessp. 187
Clonesp. 193
Decayp. 196
Reading and Thinking
The Essayp. 201
Reading and Reviewingp. 206
Biographyp. 215
Becoming Philosophicalp. 219
Philosophyp. 228
Realityp. 231
Values and Knowledgep. 234
Table of Contents provided by Rittenhouse. All Rights Reserved.

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