Bending the Rules: The Flexibility of Absolutes in Modern Life

Bending the Rules: The Flexibility of Absolutes in Modern Life

by Robert A. Hinde

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Do-unto-others-as-you-would-have-them-do-unto-you. Who would disagree with this 'Golden Rule'? We regard it as the basis of an absolute and universal morality. And yet it is considered acceptable to kill the enemy in war; for a businessman to do the best for himself; for a lawyer to argue professionally for a position he would personally reject. Are the moral rules we live by more flexible than they seem at first sight? In Bending the Rules Robert Hinde does not follow the much-trodden path of philosophizing about what is right and just. Instead, he uses an approach grounded in the behavioural sciences to explore the nature of morality, what people actually do, what they believe to be right, and what values they hold, and how these positions came to be. Such a deeper understanding of morality, he argues, as a product of biological and cultural evolution, and changing with social environment, holds out hope that we can avoid disaster and steer society towards peace and equity in the twenty-first century.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780191578731
Publisher: OUP Oxford
Publication date: 12/18/2008
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Robert A. Hinde is Emeritus Professor of Ethology at the University of Cambridge, and former Master of St. John's College, Cambridge. He is Chair of the British Pugwash Group (an organization set up in the 1950s to urge for greater social responsibility in science), President of the Movement for the Abolition of War, Fellow of the Royal Society, Honorary Fellow of the British Academy, Honorary Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences, and Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His academic career spans ethology, primatology, and developmental and social psychology, and his most recent books include War No More (2003, with Joseph Rotblat); Why good is good (2002); and Why Gods Persist: A Scientific Approach to Religion (1999). Sir Joseph Rotblat (1908 - 2005) was a nuclear physicist who resigned from the Manhattan Project and became a lifelong fighter for peace. His research into nuclear fall-out became a major factor in the agreement of the Partial Test Ban Treaty. A signatory of the Russell-Einstein manifesto, he became the first secretary general of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs in 1957, and was later to become chairman of British Pugwash and president of Pugwash worldwide. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995.

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