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Beyond Bad

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781529327090

Price: £16.99

ON SALE: 11th March 2021

Genre: Humanities / Philosophy

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‘Vital reading’ – THE TIMES

‘Brilliantly unillusioned thinking… It could hardly be more necessary in these all-too-moralistic times’ – James Marriott, THE TIMES

Morals have held empires together, kept soldiers marching under fire, fed the hungry, passed laws, built walls, welcomed immigrants, destroyed careers and governed our sex lives. But what if morality’s all meaningless rubbish, a malfunctioning relic of our evolutionary past?

This is the provocative argument that Chris Paley makes. This isn’t an attack on one set of moral codes or one way of thinking about ethics: it’s a call for abolishing the whole caboodle.

He uses evolutionary psychology to show how and why morality emerged: they
enabled our forebears to survive and prosper in tribal groups. Today, our morals constrain us, bias us, and push us in the wrong direction.

The biggest challenges our species faces, whether global warming, nuclear proliferation or the rise of the robots, are pan-human. These challenges are beyond what our moral minds were designed to cope with. You can’t build smartphones with stone-age axes, and you can’t solve modern humanity’s problems with tools that are designed to create primitive, competitive groups.

From Chris Paley, author of the ‘extraordinary’, ‘startling’ and ‘thought-provoking’ Unthink, comes Beyond Bad, which shows morals hinder us from achieving what we want to achieve. Beyond Bad is the book that ‘does for morals what Dawkins did for God’.

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Hold your breath! If you believe that moral values are the foundations of humanity, you are fundamentally wrong. In his exciting and exceptionally well written book, Chris Paley will convince you about the many downsides of morality. It is a challenge, but highly recommended.
Fritz Strack, Professor Emeritus, University of Würzburg
Truly thought-provoking. Paley puts forth an astonishingly original hypothesis and defends it eloquently, marshalling cutting-edge science to argue against the very idea of morality.
Kurt Gray, Associate Professor, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
There is a serious challenge here to received ways of thinking for the lay public and professional moral philosophers alike.
John P Burgess, John N Woodhull Professor of Philosophy, Princeton University
Paley has a gift for distilling and illuminating the implications of science reminiscent of Richard Dawkins. Many of the insights he describes will startle but, in this era of political polarisation, we all need to explore how our ethical minds work
Paul Bingham, Associate Professor, Stony Brook University, and co-author of Death from a Distance and the Birth of a Humane Universe
A fun and fascinating journey through the surprising world of human morality.
Will Storr, author of The Science of Storytelling
One to watch' and 'hard to ignore
The Bookseller
Of Unthink: 'an extraordinary thought-provoking book... quite startling. It is a book well worth reading... I look forward to reading his next one on "Freedom and Moral Choices"
Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor
'I love the prose. I wish more scientists wrote like this... Paley thinks that in the modern world our moral certainty is not only misguided but dangerous. After reading his book, so do I... The book is distinguished by its author's brilliantly unillusioned thinking. For me his basic argument is irrefutable. It could hardly be more necessary in these all-too-moralistic times.'
James Marriott, THE TIMES
A groundbreaking study of how human morality itself is at the root of much of our modern woes.
Neil Mackay, THE HERALD