The Moral Arc

Just started reading this wonderful book by Michael Shermer. It seems to be one of the most important works of moral philosophy I’ve ever read.

The main claims made by the book are that 

  • We live in the most moral period of human existence.
  • The moral progress that began with the Renaissance and has culminated in the present state of morality derives from our advancement in scientific reasoning, as applied to social and moral issues. 

If this book makes its case convincingly enough, I may have to give up my position of moral relativism in favor of a more objective view of right and wrong. 


David Foster Wallace Quotes

These quotes attributed to the late, great David Foster Wallace really spoke to me. Gleaned from Goodreads, emphasis mine.

“It’s not that students don’t “get” Kafka’s humor but that we’ve taught them to see humor as something you get — the same way we’ve taught them that a self is something you just have. No wonder they cannot appreciate the really central Kafka joke — that the horrific struggle to establish a human self results in a self whose humanity is inseparable from that horrific struggle. That our endless and impossible journey toward home is in fact our home. It’s hard to put into words up at the blackboard, believe me. You can tell them that maybe it’s good they don’t “get” Kafka. You can ask them to imagine his art as a kind of door. To envision us readers coming up and pounding on this door, pounding and pounding, not just wanting admission but needing it, we don’t know what it is but we can feel it, this total desperation to enter, pounding and pushing and kicking, etc. That, finally, the door opens…and it opens outward: we’ve been inside what we wanted all along. Das ist komisch.”

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