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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Penetrating insight into humanity and the nature of morality
There are not many books which I think everyone should read. This slim volume is one of them. Here C. S. Lewis explains in the clearest way imaginable why all the attempts to "debunk" humankind are flawed. E.g. attempting to reduce humans to the product of evolution, or to our psychology and social background. The essential argument is this: if we argue that our innate...
Published on 4 Nov 2003 by Julian Gardiner

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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The toxicity of political correctness, eloquently explained.
Using the clever vehicle of critiquing a presumptuous Britishtextbook, Lewis de-bunks the use of scientific method to analyze humanity, claiming instead that humans must trust their cumulative culture and their gut feelings. The three chapters are the record of three lectures he delivered toward the end of WWII; there is an undercurrent of distress regarding a society's...
Published on 16 Aug 1999


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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Penetrating insight into humanity and the nature of morality, 4 Nov 2003
This review is from: The Abolition of Man (Paperback)
There are not many books which I think everyone should read. This slim volume is one of them. Here C. S. Lewis explains in the clearest way imaginable why all the attempts to "debunk" humankind are flawed. E.g. attempting to reduce humans to the product of evolution, or to our psychology and social background. The essential argument is this: if we argue that our innate sense of right and wrong is arbitrary and so seek to replace it with something else, where do we get the belief that our new morality is desirable from? Must it not, in the end, be justified from the innate morality it seeks to replace? (The alternative is that it is not justified at all.) This is a compelling and exciting book. Don’t take my word for it: read it yourself!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How Education Develops Man's Sense of Morality, 5 Feb 1998
By A Customer
In this terse discussion about ethics, specifically how education develops man's sense of morality, Lewis argues that there are indeed objective values, denying the relativistic viewpoint of those who postulate that all values are fictional creations from the subjective mind of mankind. He also convincingly demonstrates how those who educate the young inevitably influence students' views on the matter by the very language used in their schoolbooks. Far from being an abstruse topic that has little bearing on our every day lives, subjective relativism has long term adverse consequences for members of society who come under its influence. Given wide enough application, it could ultimately destroy mankind. The appendix to THE ABOLITON OF MAN is quite helpful, listing examples of common values held by people of many different societies and cultures, pointing to an objective law, or "Tao". It does indeed show that there is a desire for a way of life that is better and more just, for mercy and kindness, which is seen in the different cultures around the globe. If there were not divine law and objective values, then we humans would be - as the animals seem to be - satisfied with any 'ole way of living. This book is just a bit dense in spots (which is why I rate it with a 9 instead of 10), but still readable and quite peritinent to today's western society. For related material in a little less left brained presentation, see Lewis's THAT HIDEOUS STRENGTH or MERE CHRISTIANITY.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So old, yet so relevent!, 19 May 2006
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Mr. P. Hart - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Abolition of Man (Paperback)
CS Lewis' book here is an incredible prophesy of how he saw the western world moving forward, a world where what was triumphed as 'man's power over nature' turned into 'man's power over other men, using nature as his (or her, I'm sure) instrument'.

This is an incredible book packed with so many truthes about modern day life you would struggle to believe it has been around for 50+ years!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why subjective ethics is a fore-doomed endeavor., 2 Oct 1997
By A Customer
Why such a foreboding title for a book on education? Lewis starts his book with a critique of a textbook for elementary schoolchildren on English, but goes on to draw conclusions from the book's authors' worldview about the ultimate end of the quest for subjective ethics. It is Lewis' thesis that ethics do not come from man, and any attempt to create a "new" ethic starting from man will inevitably result in the annihilation of both ethics and the human race. In the light of Western society's journey through modernism and into post-modernism, this little book just gets more and more timely with every passing day. It also contains a helpful appendix, Illustrations from the Tao, which shows that the basic principles of ethics are universal: common to all cultures and all times.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars C.S. Lewis's Next Greatest Book, 2 July 1997
By A Customer
After Mere Christianity I think this is C.S.Lewis' greatest book. This is not at all a treatise on Christianity. In fact he employs his alacrity with the other schools of religious thought to better make his points. Its focus is on subtle turns of phrases employed in school texts that diminish and undermine the the man's unique ability to impute quality of character, nobility, and beauty to objects and events. One chapter called Men Without Chests is a phrase that will haunt you time and again as you think back on this book when discussing why things seem better than ever in the world today... yet people feel more shallow and empty and don't know why. The book discusses how man is teaching away his humanity. It is inspired by a simple line quoted from a school text book about a waterfall. At first it is difficult to see what C.S. Lewis feels so passionate about but well before the end of the book you understand clearly. This is a book that can bring you into focus and may have a lasting impact on the way you look at the world. By the books end you may find yourself even more human than when you began.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Western Civilization is Falling., 26 Jan 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Abolition of Man (Paperback)
...and The Abolition of Man explains why. We have become materialists and sacrificed all the most important spiritual beliefs that make us something other than mere animals. Man has abolished his own humanity in his quest to "conquer the world." Great reading. Also recommended: "Castle of Wisdom," a Christian book by Rhett Ellis, another great book, even if it is a bit on the strange side.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barely digestible brilliance, 6 April 2013
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Mr. T Holton "Tim" (Warwickshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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As several other reviewers have noted, this book starts with an excessively distracting rant about some mid-20th Century school textbook. And it seems to go on for ages, feeling unjust in its criticism of an inadvertent philosophical faux pas that the authors of this long-forgotten textbook have made.

But if you can only bare with it and keep going you realise that the vital point he is making is buried in the heart of the book, and actually the subliminal nature of reductionist and relativistic thinking is just the problem he is talking about. It was only about half way through the book that I realised what CS Lewis' message was and, more importantly, how pertinent it is to public life in 2013 Britain. Stunning.

Because of the format it is fairly inaccessible for average readers like me, but in terms of the central idea this book is a potential life-changer. An easy 5 stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking read, 7 Mar 2013
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This is a thought-provoking read, in classic C.S. Lewis style. I would not go as far as he does with the consequences of naturalistic philosophy being subtly brought into education (I still think that children who learn morality at home will be less likely to fall into these traps at school). Yet, I do think that his warning is relevant for today - school-leavers are not taught to closely examine what they are fed at university, but rather blindly follow whatever 'the experts' say. As a result, few students ever think critically about dubious 'scientific' theories such as evolution. The naturalistic philosophy that comes with evolution leads on to the logical conclusion that humans are just another species of mammal, and morality and truth are not objective realities. The resulting acceptance of evil and falsehood as the norm are fulfillments of what C.S. Lewis was considering in his day.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Love Lewis, 3 July 2008
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Timothy Kwant - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Abolition of Man (Paperback)
Wonderful apologetic and definitely still applicable in today's post modern society i think. If you're an average reader like me you may need to go through it with a highlighter like I did :-) How anyone could argue against this I don't know. The best non fiction of Lewis that I have read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This one extraordinary book!, 2 Oct 1998
By A Customer
This book goes deep into the human mind. It poses questions to long taught knowledge. Makes you re-think everything you've ever learned. It also makes you queston human nature and human drives. Whether humans have instincts or not? I suggest reading the Tao before the first chapter.
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The Abolition of Man (Annotated)
The Abolition of Man (Annotated) by C S Lewis (Paperback - 22 Aug 2013)
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