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Overall Rating and Opinion of The Moral Arc

Posted: March 15th, 2015, 1:32 am
by Scott
Please use this topic to discuss your overall opinion of the March 2015 philosophy book of the month, The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom by Michael Shermer. Do you like the book? Do you recommend others read it? Why or why not?

-- 01 Apr 2015 04:35 pm --

Overall, I like the book. I think it actually moved at a good pace for such--at times--dense, well-researched material.

However, I feel Shermer was inconsistent in the level of rational arguments provided to support his moral conclusions. He provided a lot of science and empirical evidence to explain certain things, but so often just took some things for granted. You can argue some of your premises in an argument as well as you want, but the argument still fails to be convincing if just one of the premises is not fully backed up. For a book about "morality", I think the premises actually tended to be weaker on that side. There is so much vagueness in helping people survive and flourish that I feel it was not rational for him to so often, after granted providing so much science about the long-debated consequences of a certain action, that the action was thus "immoral", but that ignores the various philosophical problems with actually weighing the survival and flourishing of humans even when you agree on the math (exemplified by countless classic utilitarian thought experiments).