The Quest for a Moral Compass

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An absolute tour de force. I can imagine it replacing Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy on many a bookshelf - certainly mine. To read it is not only to be better informed but also to be more alert to the assumptions that have guided human beings in the past, and to our capacity for goodness and wickedness. The result is a tour de force of lucidity and narrative skill.

While demonstrating genuine command of the subtleties of the hundreds of topics covered, he consistently chooses the accessible, the concise, the precise, and the broad-ranging over the technical, theoretical, and trivial. I learned more than I can say and will no doubt be consulting this book often in the future. Added to basket. Learning from the Germans. Susan Neiman. Utopia for Realists. Rutger Bregman. Jordan B.

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The Moral Compass

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Engaging and provocative, The Quest for a Moral Compass confronts some of humanity's deepest questions. Where do values come from? Is God necessary for moral guidance? Are there absolute moral truths? It also brings morality down to earth, showing how, throughout history, social needs and political desires have shaped moral thinking. It is a history of the world told through the history of moral thought, and a history of moral thought that casts new light on global history.

We may think of the transition from heroic society to more settled forms of civil life, which in the ancient Greek context provided the conditions for the ethical masterpieces of Plato and Aristotle.

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Similar stories can be told about the emergence of religious ethics, not only in the Abrahamic religions but also in Eastern traditions such as Buddhism. The sheer sweep of The Quest for a Moral Compass , coupled with its interest in situating ethical ideas within their larger historical background, means it spreads itself extremely thin, and it often reads like a broad-brushstroke intellectual history of the world. This results, inevitably, in simplifications. Will readers who come to the book with a sense of quest go away satisfied?

Except that — in the denouement of this history — the optimism of Enlightenment humanism has ceded, in our own times, to despair over the prospects of social transformation.


This book is not yet featured on Listopia. So despite the protests against his approach, Malik is on firm ground. The village has its own website listed below. No really new questions here but the old ones acquire new meaning with increased understanding. Jul 27, Tim rated it it was amazing Shelves: philosophy. Some information felt irrelevant and his section on Kant seemed too brief, too basic.

What would it take for us to dream? Despite the vague gesture towards possibilities of meaning-making at the end of the book, this is not a question it answers. Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary. Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:.

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Start by marking “The Quest for a Moral Compass” as Want to Read: In this remarkable and groundbreaking book, Kenan Malik explores the history of moral thought as it has developed over three millennia, from Homer's Greece to Mao's China, from ancient India to modern America. The Quest for a Moral Compass: A Global History of Ethics [Kenan Malik] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The story of the global search.