Thomas Nagel

You Can't Learn About Morality from Brain Scans

The problem with moral psychology

Joshua Greene's book is intended as a radical challenge to the assumptions of that philosophical enterprise. It benefits from his familiarity with the field, even if his grasp of the views that he discusses is not always accurate.

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Reason, Almost

Thinking, Fast and Slow By Daniel Kahneman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 499 pp., $30) Humans are rational animals. In addition to the rich perceptual, cognitive, and motivational systems that they share with other creatures, they have a unique way of forming beliefs and preferences that is not instinctive but deliberate.

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The Facts Fetish

The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values By Sam Harris (Free Press, 291 pp., $26.99) Sam Harris’s first two books, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason and Letter to a Christian Nation, attacked religious faith. His new book, interestingly enough, attacks not faith but a form of skepticism—moral skepticism. Harris’s aim is to show that there is moral truth, and that it does not depend on the word of God.

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Law Without Nations?: Why Constitutional Government Requires Sovereign States By Jeremy A. Rabkin (Princeton University Press, 350 pp., $29.95)  Jeremy A. Rabkin's book is a forceful defense of the virtues of national sovereignty, and of the claim that American constitutional government places strict limits on the reach and authority of international law. In part, Rabkin is responding to critics of the unilateralism of the Bush administration--its rejection of the Kyoto Treaty, its refusal to join the International Criminal Court, its invasion of Iraq without explicit U.N.

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