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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. Author of FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THE SECULAR STATE (2012), HUMANITY ENHANCED (2014), and THE MYSTERY OF MORAL AUTHORITY (2016).

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Ah haz lots of books to read

My copy of The Moral Landscape, by Sam Harris, turned up today, as did a few other things that I wanted. I still have my copy of Agar's anti-transhumanist Humanity's End reproaching me for not having progressed very far (though I've been sent a thoughtful review of it for publication down the track in The Journal of Evolution and Technology), and there are several other things to tackle.

The Harris book is one that will need a fair bit of attention when I can find the time. Harris is raising important issues about secular morality and public policy.

 Right now, though, I'm reading AC Grayling's new essay collection To Set Prometheus Free: Essays on Religion, Reason and Humanity. As always, it's beautiful writing by Grayling, full of clear, humane thinking. The only problem for me is that I've read a fair bit of it before, in one form or another ... but I'm enjoying revisiting it.

Grayling is someone to cherish, the Bertrand Russell of our era.

9 comments:

Eric said...

I might skip this Grayling book. All of his other books seem to be the same content just with a different cover. John Gray is heaps cooler.

Kel said...

I recently read AC Grayling's What Is Good?, it amazes me just how knowledgeable and eloquent he is.

Wowbagger said...

Of everyone I saw speak at the GAC, I think I was most blown away by AC Grayling. Such an astonishing intellect. I should get my hands on a copy of this.

josef johann said...

Can't wait for the Harris stuff!!

Simon said...

Hello, for all Washington, DC area residents reading this blog, Sam Harris will be discussing The Moral Landscape at GW Lisner Auditorium on Tue Oct 12: http://www.lisner.org/eventdetails.asp?id=611

Greywizard said...

The thing that really interests me about Grayling is that, although he writes with as much asperity as Dawkins, no one calls him strident or shrill. I'm not quite sure why this is, although the sheer elegance of style is perhaps one reason. If you read Gibbons' Decline and Fall right after you have read some Grayling, you will see a similarity, and it is interesting that he thinks Gibbon got the history 'correct in all outline' (which is often denied). There is a sweetness about his prose style, brightened by quick flashes of insight and wit. And that sense of having 'read a fair bit of it before' is a part of it. Certainly, you may have, but there is also a kind of inevitability about it that makes it sound familiar, as though you have always known it -- something Socratic, I think.

Regarding Eric's comment that 'John Gray is heaps cooler.' Perhaps, but he's almost always wrong, and usually self-contradictory.

Anonymous said...

And finally, the *only* man in Minnesota who says there is no God has suddenly become an arbiter on mental health...

http://www.unfacts.org/factsforum/viewtopic.php?t=4080
COME SEE A PHOTO OF MABUS AND AN EXPLANATION OF IT!

ColinGavaghan said...

Looking forward to Nick Agar's book too. I don't always see eye to eye with him, but he is very far from being a knee-jerk biocon.

re Greywizard's observation: The question of why Dawkins seems to put so many backs up really intrigues me, and I think it's one that atheist 'activists' need to address as clearly and dispassionately as we can if our arguments are going to be effective.

That Guy Montag said...

Well, shall I get down to boasting rights and say that last night was my first lecture with Prof Grayling. It's not quite as exciting as when he was my year tutor for the five days before he went off to make a BBC documentary but I will say his lectures are magnificent and most of the students agreed. He blasted his way through: an introduction to foundationalism; a brief history of Logical positivism that pretty much summed up my summer reading complete with its challenges and critics; an anecdote about flying through the Himalayas; Bonjour's Coherentism complete with analysis; tectonic geology; he even had time to finish with an elegant summation of his own Epistemology complete with dig at Wittgenstien. I don't think I've ever had a lecture quite tht complete.