New Books Network

Justin Tosi and Brandon Warmke, “Grandstanding: The Use and Abuse of Moral Talk” (Oxford UP, 2020)
College courses in Ethics tend to focus on theories of the moral rightness or wrongness of actions.  This emphasis sometimes obscures the fact that morality is a social project: part of what makes a decent and stable society possible is that we uphold standards of conduct.  We call out bad... Read More
Eric Holthaus, “The Future Earth: A Radical Vision for What’s Possible in the Age of Warming” (HarperOne, 2020)
We sit at the beginning of what could be “both a truly terrifying and a golden era in humanity.” In The Future Earth: A Radical Vision for What’s Possible in the Age of Warming (HarperOne, 2020), leading climate change advocate and weather-related journalist Eric Holthaus (“the Rebel Nerd of Meteorology”­–Rolling... Read More
George Lawson, “Anatomies of Revolution” (Cambridge UP, 2019)
The success of populist politicians and the emergence of social justice movements around the world, and the recent demonstrations against police violence in the United States, demonstrate a widespread desire for fundamental political, economic, and social change, albeit not always in a leftwards direction. What can movements and parties that... Read More
Nathan G. Alexander, “Race in a Godless World: Atheism, Race, and Civilization, 1850–1914” (NYU Press, 2019)
Is modern racism a product of secularization and the decline of Christian universalism? The debate has raged for decades, but up to now, the actual racial views of historical atheists and freethinkers have never been subjected to a systematic analysis.  In his new book, Race in a Godless World: Atheism, Race,... Read More
James C. Scott, “Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States” (Yale UP, 2017)
We are schooled to believe that states formed more or less synchronously with settlement and agriculture. In Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States (Yale University Press, 2017), James C. Scott asks us to question this belief. The evidence, he says, is simply not on the side... Read More
Brian Greene, “Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe” (Random House, 2020)
Brian Greene is a Professor of Mathematics and Physics at Columbia University in the City of New York, where he is the Director of the Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics, and co-founder and chair of the World Science Festival. He is well known for his TV mini-series about... Read More
B. Earp and J. Savulescu, “Love Drugs: The Chemical Future of Relationships” (Stanford UP, 2020)
Consider a couple with an infant (or two) whose lives have become so harried and difficult the marriage is falling apart. Would it be ethical for them to take oxytocin to help them renew their emotional bonds, or would this be an unethical evasion of the hard work that keeping... Read More
Yael Tamir, “Why Nationalism?” (Princeton UP, 2019)
Around the world today, nationalism is back—and it’s often deeply troubling. Populist politicians exploit nationalism for authoritarian, chauvinistic, racist, and xenophobic purposes, reinforcing the view that it is fundamentally reactionary and antidemocratic. But Yael (Yuli) Tamir makes a passionate argument for a very different kind of nationalism—one that revives its... Read More
Great Books: Melissa Schwartzberg on Rousseau’s “The Social Contract”
“Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” The opening sentence of 18th century philosopher Jean-Jacques Roussau’s The Social Contract poses a central question for all of us. Why do we live under conditions of inequality, violence, dependency and general unhappiness (just look on twitter!) if society is... Read More