Life, Sex and Ideas: The Good Life without God

Overview


"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 ...
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Overview


"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.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Grayling (Meditations for the Humanist) writes in praise of the essay, and his book is an excellent example of a fine essayist in action. It consists of a large number of short pieces on various philosophical themes, including religion, capital punishment, fasting, war, and politics. Grayling views religion with alarm, regarding it as a principal source of fanaticism. Religious views, he holds, should be strictly confined to private life and should have no influence on education and public affairs. Instead, he favors a tolerant humanism that owes much to the Greeks and Romans. He finds value in Stoicism but criticizes it for its reluctance to engage fully with life. Grayling does not confine himself to generalities, however: he has some up-to-the-minute comments on terrorism. He warns against curtailing civil liberties and feels that the threat of terrorism should not induce us to abandon civilized tolerance. Grayling often "tells" us rather than deploying sustained arguments for his controversial views, but readers will benefit from an encounter with his erudite and elegant prose. Highly recommended.-David Gordon, Bowling Green State Univ. OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195177558
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2004
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 720,049
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 5.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Emotion 3
Moral Education 6
Emancipation and Ethics 11
Symbols 16
Religion 20
Credulity 24
Fasting 27
Meat 30
Evil 33
Luxury 36
Games 39
Marriage 42
Sex 45
Benevolence 60
Morality 63
Identity 69
Cultures 72
Conservation 76
Teachers 82
Intellectuals 84
Politics 91
Voting 94
Utopia 97
Profit 101
Power 104
Protest 106
Justice 109
Liberty 112
Pluralism 116
Anger 121
Conflict 124
Guns 126
War 129
War's Causes 132
Western Victories 135
Triumph 138
Safety 141
War Crimes 144
Vengeance 146
Capital Punishment 148
Bystanders 151
Slavery 154
Experience 157
Suicide 163
Loss 166
Obsequies 169
Remembrance 172
Naturalness 177
Nature 181
Monsters 184
Madness 187
Clones 193
Decay 196
The Essay 201
Reading and Reviewing 206
Biography 215
Becoming Philosophical 219
Philosophy 228
Reality 231
Values and Knowledge 234
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Do not read

    "Life, Sex and Ideas" is - unfortunately - a waste of time and $14.95. The book starts off good but it soon falls apart and becomes rather redundant and meaningless. It covers many good topics but Grayling never expands over common knowledge. Every topic is left undone and with the reader wanting more.

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