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The Turbulent Universeby Paul Kurtz
Synopses & Reviews
In his final book, the late Paul Kurtz outlines his personal vision for a planetary ethics inspired by scientific wisdom. Blending realism and optimism, he lays out the basic principles of an ethical approach that he calls humanist eupraxsophy--that is, the application of practical moral choices inspired by scientific wisdom. Emphasizing the dramatic character of the biosphere, human affairs, and the physical universe itself, Kurtz has structured the book in terms of an operatic scenario, with an overture, intermezzo, nine acts, and a grand finale. Citing the emergence of a new planetary civilization, he proposes the development of a planetary ethics based on universal human rights, free scientific inquiry unfettered by dogma, an attitude of exuberance toward human potentials, and courage and determination in the face of the daunting challenges of our time.
Kurtz concludes on an enthusiastic note: there is meaning to be found in creative human endeavors as well as a sense of awe and profound reverence inspired by the spectacle of the enormous universe and the prospects for the human adventure.
"Humans must 'fully realize that they exist in a universe without a God,' argues Kurtz (1925 — 2012) in this eloquent call for 'humanist eupraxsophy,' a 'practical moral' system based on empathy and scientific knowledge. The prolific philosopher begins by explaining that pre-Socratic thinkers looked for natural causes to explain the world around them, but the rise and spread of organized religion stalled human progress until the Scientific Revolution. The author credits the invention of human culture, not deities or spirits, for providing the means to pass on the tools and knowledge necessary to survive in a world that has suffered genocides, the fall of numerous civilizations, and at least five major extinctions in the past 570 million years. Kurtz (What Is Secular Humanism?) sums up his hopes with a clarion call for a world government based on 'planetary ethics,' which would ideally marshal the best of our intellectual, scientific, and moral resources to solve problems and guide human progress. With vigor and conviction, Kurtz lays out his vision of a civilization grounded in reality and compassion, and while he is less clear when it comes to specifics like gender issues or how to do away with religious fundamentalism, his final work will give thoughtful readers plenty to think about." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Paul Kurtz (1925-2012), professor emeritus of philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, was the author or editor of more than fifty books, including The Transcendental Temptation, The Courage to Become, and Embracing the Power of Humanism, plus nine hundred articles and reviews. His recent passing received global attention, including full-length obituaries in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and global media. He was the founder and chairman of the Institute for Science and Human Values as well as the founder and chairman emeritus of the Center for Inquiry, the Council for Secular Humanism, and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He appeared on many major television and radio talk shows and lectured at universities worldwide.
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History and Social Science » World History » General