In The Battle for Compassion: Ethics in an Apathetic Universe (New York: Algora Publishing, 2011) I take a sweeping, brutally honest look at such basic questions as who we are, what matters, where we are headed and what we can do about it. By synthesizing current thinking from science, philosophy and other disciplines with my own reflections on freedom, identity and morality, I encourage readers to re-think their ethical priorities and how we can take more pragmatic approaches to shaping a gentler future for our planet. I argue that the reduction of intense suffering is our greatest ethical imperative, and that we need new kinds of ambitious, multidisciplinary initiatives to embed this ethic into our global system. Written in a clear, lively style for a general readership while deeply exploring key philosophical issues, The Battle for Compassion offers a fresh perspective on our situation as a species and where we direct our efforts.
“The Battle For Compassion is absolutely fantastic. I’d say it’s one of the 10-15 best non-fiction books I’ve ever read, and in terms of sheer honesty and penetration to the reality of what our existence is, quite possibly the best book I’ve ever read. It’s really astounding how it ties together different subject areas, and it’s written in a very readable way.”
-Nick Cooney, founder of The Humane League and author of Change of Heart, Veganomics and How To Be Great At Doing Good
- Table of Contents
- Chapter 6. Determinism: The Universe's Marionette Show (reflections on the free will paradox: how can human beings really act freely in an apparently deterministic world of cause and effect?)
- Chapter 7. The Illusion of Distinct Individual Identity (reflections on the nature of personal identity; I explain empty individualism and open individualism without actually using these terms)
- Chapter 9. Avoiding the Abyss (reflections on human, animal and non-biological suffering)
In 2015 I made this 20-minute film to communicate some of the book's key messages: