The Atheist's Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions

The Atheist's Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions

by Alex Rosenberg


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“A tough test of the intellectual mettle of the armchair atheists and those teetering between faith and committing to life without it.”—Boston Globe

We can’t avoid the persistent questions about the meaning of life—and the nature of reality. But science is the only means of answering them. So declares philosopher Alex Rosenberg in this bracing, surprisingly sanguine take on a world without god. The science that makes us nonbelievers, he demonstrates, tells us the nature of reality, the purpose of everything, the difference between right and wrong, how the mind works, even the direction of human history.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393344110
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 12/10/2012
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 581,904
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Alex Rosenberg is the R. Taylor Cole Professor and chair of the Department of Philosophy at Duke University and the codirector of the Duke Center for Philosophy of Biology. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Chapter 1 Answering Life's Persistent Questions: Do You Want Stories or Reality? 1

Chapter 2 The Nature of Reality: The Physical Facts Fix All the Facts 20

Chapter 3 How Physics Fakes Design 45

Chapter 4 IKEA Didn't Make Natural History: Good Design Is Rare, Expensive, and Accidental 71

Chapter 5 Morality: The Bad News 94

Chapter 6 The Good News: Nice Nihilism 115

Chapter 7 Never Let Your Conscious Be Your Guide 146

Chapter 8 The Brain Does Everything without Thinking about Anything at All 164

Chapter 9 Farewell to the Purpose-Driven Life 194

Chapter 10 You've Got to Stop Taking Yourself So Seriously 220

Chapter 11 History Debunked 242

Chapter 12 LIVING with Scientism: Ethics, Politics, the Humanities, and Prozac as Needed 275

The Atheist's Guide to Reality: The Backstory 316

Index 333

What People are Saying About This

E. O. Wilson

I enjoyed The Atheist's Guide to Reality. Full of daring moves, it takes the sin of scientism as the ultimate virtue. Alex Rosenberg has sheared the nature of things down to the bedrock, and exposed our common vanity.

Lawrence Krauss

The Atheist’s Guide to Reality will, like the best scholarship and science, remove you from your comfort zone. And that is the only way to gain new and better perspectives on our place in the cosmos.

Rebecca Goldstein

For those of us who have pondered what David Hume might have said, were he to have had the benefit of all the scientific knowledge that succeeded his death, Alex Rosenberg’s wonderful new book perfectly satisfies.

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