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First Published in 2017. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an Informa company.
In this volume, Marks offers a defense of amorality as both philosophically justified and practicably livable. In so doing, the book marks a radical departure from both the new atheism and the mainstream of modern ethical philosophy. While in synch with their underlying aim of grounding human existence in a naturalistic metaphysics, the book takes both to task for maintaining a complacent embrace of morality. Marks advocates wiping the slate clean of outdated connotations by replacing the language of morality with a language of desire.
The book begins with an analysis of what morality is and then argues that the concept is not instantiated in reality. Following this, the question of belief in morality is addressed: How would human life be affected if we accepted that morality does not exist? Marks argues that at the very least, a moralist would have little to complain about in an amoral world, and at best we might hope for a world that was more to our liking overall. An extended look at the human encounter with nonhuman animals serves as an illustration of amorality’s potential to make both theoretical and practical headway in resolving heretofore intractable ethical problems.
Reason and Ethics defends the theoretical claim that all values are subjective and the practical claim that human affairs can be conducted fruitfully in full awareness of this.
Joel Marks goes beyond his previous work defending moral skepticism to question the existence of all objective values. This leads him to suggest a novel answer to the Companions in Guilt argument that the denial of morality would mean relinquishing rationality as well. Marks disarms the argument by conceding the irreality of both morality and logic, but is still able to rescue rationality while dispensing with morality on pragmatic grounds. He then offers a positive account of how life may be lived productively without recourse to attributions and assertions of right and wrong, good and bad, and even truth and falsity.
Written in an accessible and engaging style, Reason and Ethics will be of interest to scholars and students working in metaethics as well as to the generally intellectually curious.
"Traitors to Their Kind" is a novel about animal ethics and planetary defense -- two topics that may seem worlds apart but which are here brought together by philosopher Joel Marks, an expert in both areas.
This book challenges the widespread assumption that the ethical life and society must be moral in any objective sense. In his previous works, Marks has rejected both the existence of such a morality and the need to maintain verbal, attitudinal, practical, and institutional remnants of belief in it. This book develops these ideas further, with emphasis on constructing a positive alternative. Calling it “desirism”, Marks illustrates what life and the world would be like if we lived in accordance with our rational desires rather than the dictates of any actual or pretend morality, neither overlaying our desires with moral sanction nor attempting to override them with moral strictures. Hard Atheism and the Ethics of Desire also argues that atheism thereby becomes more plausible than the so-called New Atheism that attempts to give up God and yet retain morality.
An original and penetrating examination of a central debate