After reading this book, the world won't look the same. Imagine yourself confined to a wheelchair; or living within the severely constricted lifestyle options of a woman in Saudi Arabia; or being a homosexual in a homophobic society; or a coffee farmer in Ethiopia; or a cow on a factory farm; or growing up impoverished in a developing country; or living 500 years from now when future generations may be negatively impacted by what we do today. This compelling thought experiment invites readers to take a moral journey, which in turn leads to an inconvenient evaluation of the way most of us live. The author proposes a new perspective, called universal subjectivism, which can be adopted by anyone regardless of religious or philosophical orientation. It takes into consideration the universal capacity for suffering and, through raising awareness, seeks to diminish that suffering and increase happiness. With consistent and crystal clear moral reasoning, van den Berg shows that the world can be organized to ensure more pleasure, beauty, justice, happiness, health, freedom, animal welfare, and sustainability. He emphasizes that today the near-term future is our greatest challenge: our affluent western lifestyle will soon exceed the limits of the earth's sustainable capacity and must soon change drastically to ward off a worldwide environmental collapse. Knowing this, we should all reevaluate the daily routines we take for granted: taking the car to work, boarding a plane to a business or vacation destination, eating meat, buying strawberries in winter, or using plastic bags in stores. There are ethical and ecological objections to each of these examples. In fact, if we applied a strict ethical analysis to our lifestyle, almost nothing we do would pass muster. Concluding with an eco-humanist manifesto, this offers much food for thought but, more importantly, an urgent and inspiring call to action.
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|Title of eBook: Philosophy for a Better World|
|Release Date: 06-04-2013|
|Publisher: Prometheus Books|
This eBook download is available in the following formats:
|Parent title||Philosophy for a...|
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Philosophy for a Better World
ContentsCHAPTER 1: Introduction to a Better World 9 CHAPTER 2: Learning to Think Philosophically 37 CHAPTER 3: Universal Subjectivism as Thought Experiment 61 CHAPTER 4: The Open Society 159 CHAPTER 5: Toward a Better World 203 CHAPTER 6: Eco-humanist Manifesto 223 Notes 253 Mediagraphy for a Better World 275 Acknowledgments 291
INTRODUCTION TO A BETTER WORLD
On the whole, we don't take the ethical and ecological consequences of our daily activities into account: taking the car to work, eating meat, flying to our holiday destination, wearing cotton shirts, buying strawberries in winter, acquiring hardwood garden furniture, eating fish, using plastic bags in stores. There are ethical and ecological objections to each of these examples. Without our being aware of it, our lifestyle does an immeasurable amount of damage to human beings, animals, and nature. Everyday actions therefore have to be assessed on the basis of their moral acceptability. Alas, the conclusion is that almost nothing we do can stand up to an ethical analysis. And that is frustrating. A lot of (unnecessary) suffering attaches to our way of life. The ethical investigation of your own lifestyle can lead to a disturbing experience, an ethical gestalt switch. Suddenly you're no longer the hero of your own lif...