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Amir Abbas
AMIR JOY, author

Adult; Other Nonfiction; (Market)

Morality... Have you ever stopped in your tracks and just wondered what exactly is morality? Of course, morality is what separates us, humans, from animals, right? But then, why do some animals act in such ways that might be described as moral? For instance, chimpanzee will tend to share his food with his peer instead of taking the share for himself. Even rats would choose to save his fellow caged rat instead of choosing to obtain food. Are these moral acts or merely animalistic instincts? If the former, then what separates us, humans, from animals? If the latter, by what measures are these animalistic acts not considered moral? We, humans, have dwelled on the notion of morality for a long time now. Its dwell jumped across the years from the hands of the Vedas religion, considered the oldest religion, to the Greeks, the ancient Egyptians the philosophers, and finally to the hands of the scientists. Will we ever arrive to an answer? Will we acquire the essence of morality? Does is coincide with God? Is it innate? Is it objective? Is it subjective? Is it relative to each society? What is morality? Within this book is everything one needs to know regarding morality: A historic chronological chronicle on the topic will be under discussion. By the end of the book, one would have all the tools he or she needs in order to arrive to his or her own judgments regarding the topic of morality. You will finally have the ammo and firearms of morality, therefore, be wise with your aim.
Joy (I Tried, I Failed, but I Stayed Strong) chronicles the philosophy of morality and its multifaceted intricacies in this exhaustive work, pairing a pedantic approach to the historical background and transformation of moral beliefs with abundant musings on personal ethical convictions. After describing a six-stage concept of morality ranging from “Authoritative Morality (morality decided by external authorities)” to “Empirical Morality (morality examined through the use of science),” the work mostly omits original analysis, instead focusing on recapping prominent teachings from renowned philosophers.

Readers will need to have a basic understanding of, and significant interest in, the historical fluidity of philosophy and its impact on moral development; those who lack that grounding will find this textbook a struggle to read. Joy goes to great lengths to establish his anti-religious mindset and associate it with living “by logic” and perceiving “facts as the truth,” an approach that’s unlikely to resonate with religious and agnostic readers. He also detours into a discussion of racism that is insufficiently explored. The author’s overall deduction rising from his extensive review of morality is that it is “one hell of a matter to discuss,” which feels more like a starting point than a conclusion.

Though it will leave readers wanting more answers, Joy’s work offers an opportunity for self-exploration and application of moral theories. Some asides are tangential and extraneous, and attempts at humor amid a heavy topic often fall flat; however, the author unabashedly deals with current events and their moral dilemmas, which many readers will find an appealing theme. The illustrations are dark and out of place at times. More enlightenment comes from the topic summaries, a handy reference for readers craving a more organized understanding of the immense amount of information packed into this book. The work’s strength lies in its meticulous categorization of philosophical theories and moral beliefs that have shaped our understanding of ethics.

Takeaway: Atheists interested in the philosophy of morality will find this exhaustive chronicle a useful reference.

Great for fans of A.C. Grayling’s The History of Philosophy, Steven M. Cahn and Peter Markie’s Ethics: History, Theory, and Contemporary Issues.

Production grades
Cover: C
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: B-
Editing: B-
Marketing copy: C