In life, there are few, if any, moral absolutes for us to rely on, and facing an increasing array of choices, we often lack the confidence of knowing we have made the right choice. In Right & Wrong, respected social commentator Hugh Mackay suggests some personal strategies that will make it easier to work out what is right and wrong for each of us in a particular situation. In an engaging, conversational style, Mackay tackles the minefield of personal relationships, business ethics, morality and religion, the benefits of moral mindfulness, and the reasons why we should strive for a good life in which we are true to ourselves and sensitive to the wellbeing of others.
Hugh Mackay is a well known, highly regarded social commentator. Bud Tingwell lends his voice of age and wisdom to this well written, accessible, insightful book.
©2004 Hugh Mackay Pty Ltd; (P)2005 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
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"I am giving this four stars..."
because the points made are excellent, and individual free will rational decision making is certainly a vital aspect of morality--but it is certainly not the only factor, and it certainly cannot function alone. (Mackay's insinuation that we can just turn our backs on immoral institutions and society ignores a very vital part of us, what Jonathan Haidt calls "hiveishness," the need for the approval of society, and our often unconscious willingness to bend our morality to fit in.) In fact, after reading this book (or before--I would not go so far as to say "instead of"), read Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind: it is a much more realistic take on human morality. For instance, Haidt insists that we are 90% chimp (self-interested) and 10% bee (concerned with group approval), and while Haidt does not throw self-determination out the window, he does make an unpleasant truth clear: that we most often "decide" what our morality is by intuition and then make up logical (or, often enough, illogical) reasons to support our intuitive/emotional moral choice (often guided by what WE want to do!) The two books are complementary, I suppose, but do read Haidt to fill in the holes this book leaves in moral theory.
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