12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Positive and Generous Morals for the Future,
This review is from: The Code for Global Ethics: Ten Humanist Principles (Hardcover)
I found this book to be a fantastic breakthrough as a way to present humanist ethics. The book is both revealing and extremely informative. It is well written, clear, concise, and persuasive. The author thoroughly investigates what humanism is all about and how it presents a superior worldview and ethics to solve human problems on an increasingly shrinking planet. --Humanism is not a religion without a god. It is a positive, rational, practical, generous and ethical philosophy of life.
In "The Code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles", the author presents a humanist moral compass that is straight and worth following. This is done in three hundred pages of pedagogically clear prose.
Most humanists will greet such an accessible and jargon free presentation of the fundamental humanist principles at a time when humanist moral philosophy seems to be sorely needed. The book is not a book of philosophy proper, written for the specialist. It is rather a clearly written and easily readable demonstration for the nonprofessional reader that moral values are necessary for human survival in the long process of human evolution. That's what the author calls "the moral dimension" of things.
Tremblay makes clear that "humans are social animals, and human interaction is a requirement for survival," and that means acting reciprocally or better, empathically. Human morality is partly innate, partly a product of the long natural evolutionary process and partly learned. This is a distinction that the author clearly emphasizes when he writes, "human morality is both an intuitive phenomenon and a learned attribute of human behavior" (p. 25). Thus, the pedagogical tone that he adopts throughout.
The book contains the potentially more controversial and debatable demonstration, at least for some readers, that humanist values are better adapted to our time of global challenges than more sectarian religion-based values. --The author deals here with universal utilitarian morality as opposed to in-group theistic morality. Indeed, being a pragmatic economist, Tremblay follows David Hume in thinking that ethical systems must primarily be judged according to their results. As he writes in the Introduction: "Since our worldview affects how we interact with others, any moral code must be judged as to how its adherents treat other people and whether or not it improves people's lives. If the adherents treat others badly and their moral values reduce others' quality of life, it is a bad moral code; if the adherents treat others with dignity and respect and their actions improve the lives of the greatest number, it is a good code of ethics. This is the ultimate pragmatic test of reality and results." (p. 22)
Of course, I cannot agree more. A moral code must be a meaningful guide to action, before being esthetically, conceptually or intellectually attractive.
Tremblay is no utopist. He devotes a full chapter (chap. 11) to the applicability of moral rules in general and of humanist rules in particular.
In the real world, one rarely encounters absolute pure human good or absolute pure human evil. In reality, people have the capacity to be both good and evil. In fact, we can observe a spectrum of good behavior to bad behavior, following a sort of normal curve from the very good to the very bad. The trick is to avoid the very bad behavior with better morals, better knowledge and better institutions. --That's what the book outlines.