The Case For Rational Optimism

Author: Frank Robinson
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1351485490
Size: 75.32 MB
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The Case for Rational Optimism tackles a host of challenging subjects in an engaging, accessible, down-to-earth style. It is intellectually serious, ceaselessly intriguing, and devoid of banalities. While other books in this genre tend to be oriented toward self-help, this volume brings evolutionary biology, neuroscience, psychology, sociology, economics, and a keen sense of history to the topic. Robinson begins with three goals: making the case for feeling good about oneself, about humanity in general, and about the global situation. He addresses such seemingly disparate subjects as selfi shness versus altruism, mind and free will, human nature, and issues relating to economics, technology, the environment, and more. Unifying these ideas into a coherent philosophical whole are central concepts: evolution has endowed our species with more good qualities than bad, and why; those qualities, and our use of reason, are the foundations of civilization, and how; and, consistent with our nature, we make a better world by valuing human life therefore enabling others to fl ourish in ways they freely choose. The Case for Rational Optimism argues that the highly challenging conditions confronting early man created a Darwinian selective pressure for cooperation, even altruism, among members of a tribe. Th e author fi nds evidence for this in the way our brains work, and in observable human behavior. He argues against existential despair over the human condition. Even though there probably is no grand celestial design investing life with meaning, he considers this liberating, giving every person the freedom to craft their own meaning. To Robinson, whether sentient beings experience suff ering or joy is the only thing that matters; without emotive highs and lows, the Universe would hardly matter.

The Rational Optimist

Author: Matt Ridley
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 9780062025371
Size: 75.69 MB
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Life is getting better—and at an accelerating rate. Food availability, income, and life span are up; disease, child mortality, and violence are down — all across the globe. Though the world is far from perfect, necessities and luxuries alike are getting cheaper; population growth is slowing; Africa is following Asia out of poverty; the Internet, the mobile phone, and container shipping are enriching people’s lives as never before. The pessimists who dominate public discourse insist that we will soon reach a turning point and things will start to get worse. But they have been saying this for two hundred years. Yet Matt Ridley does more than describe how things are getting better. He explains why. Prosperity comes from everybody working for everybody else. The habit of exchange and specialization—which started more than 100,000 years ago—has created a collective brain that sets human living standards on a rising trend. The mutual dependence, trust, and sharing that result are causes for hope, not despair. This bold book covers the entire sweep of human history, from the Stone Age to the Internet, from the stagnation of the Ming empire to the invention of the steam engine, from the population explosion to the likely consequences of climate change. It ends with a confident assertion that thanks to the ceaseless capacity of the human race for innovative change, and despite inevitable disasters along the way, the twenty-first century will see both human prosperity and natural biodiversity enhanced. Acute, refreshing, and revelatory, The Rational Optimist will change your way of thinking about the world for the better.

It S Better Than It Looks

Author: Gregg Easterbrook
Publisher: PublicAffairs
ISBN: 1610397428
Size: 49.71 MB
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Is civilization teetering on the edge of a cliff? Or are we just climbing higher than ever? Most people who read the news would tell you that 2017 is one of the worst years in recent memory. We're facing a series of deeply troubling, even existential problems: fascism, terrorism, environmental collapse, racial and economic inequality, and more. Yet this narrative misses something important: by almost every meaningful measure, the modern world is better than it ever has been. In the United States, disease, crime, discrimination, and most forms of pollution are in long-term decline, while longevity and education keep rising and economic indicators are better than in any past generation. Worldwide, malnutrition and extreme poverty are at historic lows, and the risk of dying by war or violence is the lowest in human history. It's not a coincidence that we're confused--our perspectives on the world are blurred by the rise of social media, the machinations of politicians, and our own biases. Meanwhile, political reforms like the Clean Air Act and technological innovations like the hybridization of wheat have saved huge numbers of lives. In that optimistic spirit, Easterbrook offers specific policy reforms to address climate change, inequality, and other problems, and reminds us that there is real hope in conquering such challenges. In an age of discord and fear-mongering, It's Better Than It Looks will profoundly change your perspective on who we are, where we're headed, and what we're capable of.

Abundance

Author: Peter H. Diamandis
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 145161683X
Size: 37.81 MB
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The authors document how four forces--exponential technologies, the DIY innovator, the Technophilanthropist, and the Rising Billion--are conspiring to solve our biggest problems. "Abundance" establishes hard targets for change and lays out a strategic roadmap for governments, industry and entrepreneurs, giving us plenty of reason for optimism.

Progress

Author: Johan Norberg
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
ISBN: 1786072327
Size: 40.69 MB
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A Book of the Year for The Economist and the Observer Our world seems to be collapsing. The daily news cycle reports the deterioration: divisive politics across the Western world, racism, poverty, war, inequality, hunger. While politicians, journalists and activists from all sides talk about the damage done, Johan Norberg offers an illuminating and heartening analysis of just how far we have come in tackling the greatest problems facing humanity. In the face of fear-mongering, darkness and division, the facts are unequivocal: the golden age is now.

The Uses Of Pessimism

Author: Roger Scruton
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199798995
Size: 48.59 MB
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Ranging widely over human history and culture, from ancient Greece to the current global economic downturn, Scruton makes a counterintuitive yet persuasive case that optimists and idealists -- with their ignorance about the truths of human nature and human society, and their naive hopes about what can be changed -- have wrought havoc for centuries. Scruton's argument is nuanced, however, and his preference for pessimism is not a dark view of human nature; rather his is a 'hopeful pessimism' which urges that instead of utopian efforts to reform human society or human nature, we focus on the only reform that we can truly master -- the improvement of ourselves through the cultivation of our better instincts. Written in Scruton's trademark style-- erudite, sweeping in scope across centuries and cultures, and unafraid to offend-- this book is sure to intrigue and provoke readers concerned with the state of Western culture, the nature of human beings, and the question of whether social progress is truly possible.

Enlightenment Now

Author: Steven Pinker
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0525427570
Size: 50.42 MB
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An assessment of the human condition in the twenty-first century presents data demonstrating that life quality, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise throughout the world because of the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science.

Meeting Your Half Orange

Author: Amy Spencer
Publisher: Running Press Adult
ISBN: 0762440309
Size: 29.70 MB
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How would you like to have a wonderfully well-suited, kind, adoring half-orange who feels like a teammate, a partner in crime, a true other half? “Half-Orange” refers to the Spanish term mi media naranja, which describes one’s sweetheart, that perfect other half. What if you heard he or she would be coming along soon? Would you be relieved? Excited? Happy? Well those are the feelings that dating optimism can give you. Rather than admonishing readers to make themselves more available, or turn dating into a full-time job, Spencer's program of dating optimism is a fun, results-oriented way to find a healthy happy relationship, based on brain science and psychology that can help you become a more positive dater. She'll guide you through sowing the orange seed of your ideal relationship and growing it to “fruit-ion.” In essence, by focusing positively about dating, you can actually change your brain, which changes everything from your body language to the way you perceive others and what you ultimately attract. Meeting Your Half-Orange is the pep talk that puts finding true love back into your own hands. It will guide you toward becoming so focused on the relationship you want and so happy in your own skin, the right person will be naturally drawn straight to you. You’ve never read a dating guide like this before. But best of all, it will be the last one you’ll ever need.

Hope Without Optimism

Author: Terry Eagleton
Publisher: University of Virginia Press
ISBN: 0813937353
Size: 54.54 MB
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In his latest book, Terry Eagleton, one of the most celebrated intellects of our time, considers the least regarded of the virtues. His compelling meditation on hope begins with a firm rejection of the role of optimism in life’s course. Like its close relative, pessimism, it is more a system of rationalization than a reliable lens on reality, reflecting the cast of one’s temperament in place of true discernment. Eagleton turns then to hope, probing the meaning of this familiar but elusive word: Is it an emotion? How does it differ from desire? Does it fetishize the future? Finally, Eagleton broaches a new concept of tragic hope, in which this old virtue represents a strength that remains even after devastating loss has been confronted. In a wide-ranging discussion that encompasses Shakespeare’s Lear, Kierkegaard on despair, Aquinas, Wittgenstein, St. Augustine, Kant, Walter Benjamin’s theory of history, and a long consideration of the prominent philosopher of hope, Ernst Bloch, Eagleton displays his masterful and highly creative fluency in literature, philosophy, theology, and political theory. Hope without Optimism is full of the customary wit and lucidity of this writer whose reputation rests not only on his pathbreaking ideas but on his ability to engage the reader in the urgent issues of life. Page-Barbour Lectures

Thank You For Being Late

Author: Thomas L. Friedman
Publisher: Picador USA
ISBN: 1250141222
Size: 38.59 MB
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A New York Times Bestseller, One of The Wall Street Journal’s “10 Books to Read Now,” and One of Kirkus Reviews’s Best Nonfiction Books of Year We all sense it—something big is going on. You feel it in your workplace. You feel it when you talk to your kids. You can’t miss it when you read the newspapers or watch the news. Our lives are being transformed in so many realms all at once—and it is dizzying. In Thank You for Being Late, version 2.0, with a new afterword, Thomas L. Friedman exposes the tectonic movements that are reshaping the world today and explains how to get the most out of them and cushion their worst impacts. His thesis: to understand the twenty-first century, you need to understand that the planet’s three largest forces—Moore’s law (technology), the Market (globalization), and Mother Nature (climate change and biodiversity loss)—are accelerating all at once. These accelerations are transforming five key realms: the workplace, politics, geopolitics, ethics, and community. The year 2007 was the major inflection point: the release of the iPhone, together with advances in silicon chips, software, storage, sensors, and networking, created a new technology platform that is reshaping everything from how we hail a taxi to the fate of nations to our most intimate relationships. It is providing vast new opportunities for individuals and small groups to save the world—or to destroy it. With his trademark vitality, wit, and optimism, Friedman shows that we can overcome the multiple stresses of an age of accelerations—if we slow down, if we dare to be late and use the time to reimagine work, politics, and community. Thank You for Being Late is an essential guide to the present and the future.