I tried to read this book because it is good mental hygiene to read authors you don't agree with, at least when their views are based on facts and sound reasoning. But this book is just pure ideology and the author does obviously not apply to himself the standards of verification and unbiased judgment that he exacts from the intellectual class at large.
I have read tens of philosophy books, but this is the one that made me feel the most enlightened after reading it. It helped clear away the cosy rationalizations of tribal moralities that I self-righteously indulge in, like every one else, and it does not claim to replace those by another absolute moral truth. At the same time, after demonstrating the hopeless relativity of moral emotions, Joshua Greene does fully acknowledge their worth as an "automatic mode".
A scientific understanding of the dual processes at work in moral decision-making leads to a reappraisal of the much-maligned utilitatrian viewpoint as the only realistic inter-tribal "moral common currency"
The little fable told at the beginning is nice, but you definitely shoul reread it after completing the book.
This is a book you have to think over, I read it twice and will certainly read it again.
The elocution of Hitchens is very poor, horribly straining and almost imposible to follow for a non-native speaker of english like me. It is really a pity because the contents are so compelling!
Being born in France at the time this novel is supposed to take place, I found the story doubly fascinating, not only for the suspense, but also for the depiction of a country that was still much closer to the 19th century than to the 21st, so different in every regard from what it has since become.
It is just a pity that the narrator does such a terrible job of pronouncing french names, they are barely recognizable...
I have been caught by surprise, as some of the participants in this program are reputable people (e.g. Neil Postman, Howard Rheingold) but the last part of it is a piece of not-so-subtle propaganda for intelligent design, with a bunch of advocates of this pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo posing as victims of the scientific establishment, just as Galileo was a victim of the Inquisition : this is a bit hard to swallow, considering that these people are closer in their orientation to the religious obscurantists who condemned Galileo than to Galileo himself.
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