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Life, Sex and Ideas: The Good Life without God Paperback – December 16, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0195177558 ISBN-10: 019517755X

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Life, Sex and Ideas: The Good Life without God + Meditations for the Humanist: Ethics for a Secular Age + The Good Book: A Humanist Bible
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (December 16, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019517755X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195177558
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #789,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Grayling's admirable credo might be the Virgilian 'parcere subiectis et debellare superbos,' but the lowly to be spared only if deserving, the mighty attacked only when abusing their power. Would there were more such men of good sense."--New Criterion

"Grayling writes in praise of the essay, and his book is an excellent example of a fine essayist in action....Grayling often 'tells' us rather than deploying sustained arguments for his controversial views, but readers will benefit from an encounter with his erudite and elegant prose. Highly recommended."--Library Journal

About the Author


A.C. Grayling is a British literary journalist and university professor of philosophy, who contributes the weekly column "The Reason of Things" to The London Times and writes frequently for Financial Times and The New York Review of Books. He is a Reader in Philosophy at Birbeck College, University of London, and Supernumerary Fellow of St. Anne's College, Oxford. His books include Meditations for the Humanist: Ethics for a Secular Age.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Glenn R. Boston on July 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a collection of intellectually stimulating and thought-provoking essays from an erudite British journalist. The title is somewhat misleading. While Grayling explores religion, he looks at many other topics as well. Unlike so many contemporary American writers, Grayling does not rely on personal attacks, name-calling or scorched-earth tactics -- yet the reader always knows where he stands. I have only one complaint about this book: Grayling endorses mandatory voting in America. This indicates he's more than a little out of touch with American popular culture. Overall, however, the book is a gem. Read it when you yearn for something more than just another right-wing or left-wing screed.
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61 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Just Visiting on November 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book of short essays on numerous subjects is so clear, rational, sane and well-written, I couldn't put it down in the bookstore. Then I looked it up on amazon.com and saw that it had a 2-1/2-star rating. I figured...aha! a Christian tirade must be afoot! I was correct. So I am giving it 5 stars and a standing ovation. It's a good book. Read it and weep! If only Americans would value a good classical education and the arts!
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Atwater on January 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
Grayling's succinct philosophizing is always insightful, informed, and persuasive. It needs to be noted, however, that this title contains exactly the same text as Grayling's "The Reason of Things" (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2002; Orion Books/Phoenix, 2003).
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28 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Bergman on January 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Written in literary form, Life, Sex and Ideas is easily accessable for the lay reader in philosophy. If you are inclined towards adherence to an exoteric god's ethics, then this book is not for you. Says A. C. Grayling on page 228, if "there are no transcendent grounds for value [i.e., God], [then we must] therefore find them within ourselves...." This is first and foremost a humanist work. This particular Grayling work is not one of formal philosophy, as he was trained, but is aimed at reflection of life and the issues people face. He says children should be taught not by moralists advocating doctrine but should be exposed to the wonder of the self-examined life. If they are not provided with such an education, then they are being deprived of being human. Religious teaching, he says, is the equivalent to child abuse, for one has implanted the ideas of irrational and unempirical thought into the mind of an impressionable child. Conceptions of hell, damnation, and God's grace inhibit our ability to find value in ourselves and create barrier to universal morality, one beneficial to all, save for those who think this morality sinful. All of the 61 essays are attempts to find value in ourselves. He speaks out against the death penalty, against the naturalistic fallacy, for understanding one another, for valuing the emotional independence of those who commit suicide, against guns (made only as a tool of killing), for democracy, and for valuing reading. If ever there was a book detailing a crystal-clear moral outlook, this is the one. A book for reflection and not for exhaustion, Grayling will make you take stock of your life. In praising Michel De Montaigne for inventing the essay, and others for writing in the format, he engages in a bit of self-praise for his style of writing.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Morguess on September 10, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Despite the title, this book is not an atheist manifesto, nor is it largely about sex. The author, a professor of philosophy at Oxford University, does devote a chapter to sex, and touches on religion throughout the book, but really, more than anything, it is a book about thinking and ideas. Grayling is a gifted essayist, and each chapter is actually an essay - most only two or three pages long - covering such topics as marriage, guns, utopia, suicide, nature, and dozens more. Although he makes clear to the reader where he stands, each chapter is a nugget of wisdom and delectable food for thought.

This is my first foray into philosophy and I loved it. Very stimulating and thought-provoking; I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in opening their mind, or those who value open-mindedness, insightfulness, and introspection.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kyosuke Hanakara on June 9, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent book, as all of Graylings books are awesome. A clear discretion and analysis of a variety of subjects.
He is my favorite atheist !
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