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Paperback Details
  • 12/2017
  • 9781948304160
  • 500 pages
  • $18.99
Ebook Details
  • 12/2017
  • 9781948304177
  • 500 pages
  • $2.99
Great Objectives

Adult; Political & Social Sciences; (Market)

In his book Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill refers to the great objects of human life. We may assume that what Mill calls an object is the same as an objective in modern parlance. The examples of great objectives that Mill cites include power, fame, and money. One wonders how seriously Mill was actually endorsing such aims to be the overarching objectives of living or whether he was simply expressing his finding that many people actually do take such aims as these for life. The contention is that Mill was indeed recognizing that people do choose such goals in life. After all, happiness has been recognized as an objective of life at least since the time of Aristotle, and virtue has a similarly ancient pedigree. It is quite common for ordinary people to adopt such mottos as “Healthy, wealthy, and wise” as aims for life. But we know that having more than one such value can lead to conflicts. This had been a concern to Sidgwick as well as other nineteenth-century moralists. A resolution to the problem was found by the time of the twentieth century, when it was realized that we should not try to achieve definite objectives, but instead look to some other procedure, such as a variety of evolution, to shape our objectives. In that case, we make plans and evaluate them, as we proceed. We should use our values, as Dewey recommended, for guideposts. The book discusses the methods of arriving at such plans and weighs some of the ethical and moral problems an individual or a society might face at the present time.
Reviews
CC Thomas for Pacific Book Review

In Great Objectives, author Robert Finch explains the thought process behind what is deemed the grand intentions of humans throughout history—religion, fame, power, and money. All these topics are covered in the book, but not necessarily in that order. Also these single ideas often mingle together until they are virtually indistinguishable. Finch does not serve as an advice-giver in this book, but rather as a reflective soothsayer and reasonable historian, searching for threads of such ideas of self-actualization throughout our past as humans.

Great Objectives starts with a history of ethical thought and provides strong evidence for naturalism as a guiding, ethical principal. Those with aversions to organized religion will find religious thought and principles are both succinctly and respectfully presented, instead of being denigrated. This is not a book that espouses one philosophy over another, but handles different philosophical thoughts fairly. While religion isn’t seen as a prevailing impetus for a moral and ethical life in Finch’s words, it also isn’t treated disdainfully. Those who are religious could, and probably should, read this book for a complete and thorough understanding of atheistic thought. Finch provides solid arguments that religion does not have to equal ethics.

Several interesting accounts for explanations of humanism are provided, including those of native tribes who used ethical and moral principles with no background of religious principles. Many accounts are also given for historical explanations for natural events using reason and evidence instead of supernatural aspects related to religions. Science and reasoning, as Finch points out, is a major part of our culture. Sadly, such evidence is generally lacking elsewhere, especially in modern times. Finch gives solid historical evidence for such philosophical thinking and the book illustrates so wonderfully the train of thought involved in the thinking process, explaining how man’s great objectives have changed and modified over time.

Finch’s book reads more like a collection of essays than a narrative. While the book begins with a solid historical basis for humanistic thoughts and beliefs, the rest of the book reads as a manifesto furthering and solidifying those thoughts in a typical life. Finch takes different topics, such as economics, law, and art, and explains those concepts within the framework of humanistic thought. Each chapter and topic has evidential treatment given by noted essayists and novelists and reading the book is an affirmation for those who hold such viewpoints. It is a book that will make any reader think—both those who disagree with the humanist viewpoint and those who are humanists will invariably learn about new topics and theories.

This book is a cerebral exercise from beginning to end and makes for an interesting read, no matter the philosophical persuasion of the reader. What also makes Finch’s book so delightful are the solid evidential examples that float through each chapter. It is not just a book of theories, as many philosophical books are; instead, Finch’s book traces humanistic thought throughout our long history on earth and solidifies this perspective in a creative and capable way.

RJM Terrado for The US Review of Books

"Questions about ends are questions about what is ultimately desirable. The principle of utility is desirable as a final end; all other things are desirable as means to that end."

Great Objectives makes a case for secular ethics. With a comprehensive takedown on around 18 salient points, Finch presents a thorough, credible, and persuasive position. This 500-page book is anchored on the thesis that ethics is not necessarily Christian. Rather, it is atheistic as much as it is Nietzschean. From a secular perspective, the basis of ethical knowledge is subjective emotion and meaning and our best understanding of the natural world, which constitutes truth. Finch argues that the brain controls our individual lives, and the mental faculty houses psychology and cognitive science. Finch weaves these claims around one particular tenet: ethical thinking does not need divine sanctions or supernatural revelations.

The book's main strength is its solid, contextual arguments and neat structure. The author did not use convoluted tag lines and did not attempt to enhance his credibility with big words and baffling jargons. Furthermore, the author's choice to establish the historical grounds for his study early on the discussion shows prudent consideration on the arrangement of thought and transition. Ethics as a topic of inquiry can border to philosophical and legal. Read: it can be a real dry undertaking. Finch, however, was able to showcase his in a gripping, rich presentation, encouraging a combo of intellectual and practical discussion on the topic.

As pointed out in the book, it was John Stuart Mill who did the first dig on and mention of the "great objects" of human life. Finch, however, owns it and makes it clear how these objectives constitute parts of a complete ethic. This book would be helpful to ethicists, students of philosophy and religion and those who are drawn to humanist ethic.

News
08/08/2017
Great Objectives by Robert Finch - 60 sec

In his book Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill refers to the great objects of human life. We may assume that that what Mill calls an object is the same as an objective in modern parlance. The examples of great objectives that Mill cites include power, fame, and money. One wonders how seriously Mill was actually endorsing such aims to be the overarching objectives of living or whether he was simply expressing his finding that many people actually do take such aims as these for life. The contention is that Mill was indeed recognizing that people do choose such goals in life. After all, happiness has been recognized as an objective of life at least since the time of Aristotle, and virtue has a similarly ancient pedigree. It is quite common for ordinary people to adopt such mottos as “Healthy, wealthy, and wise” as aims for life. But we know that having more than one such value can lead to conflicts. This had been a concern to Sidgwick as well as other nineteenth-century moralists. A resolution to the problem was found by the time of the twentieth century, when it was realized that we should not try to achieve definite objectives, but instead look to some other procedure, such as a variety of evolution, to shape our objectives. In that case, we make plans and evaluate them, as we proceed. We should use our values, as Dewey recommended, for guideposts. The book discusses the methods of arriving at such plans and weighs some of the ethical and moral problems an individual or a society might face at the present time.

05/19/2017
Great Objectives by Robert Finch - Author Interview

In his book Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill refers to the great objects of human life. We may assume that that what Mill calls an object is the same as an objective in modern parlance. The examples of great objectives that Mill cites include power, fame, and money. One wonders how seriously Mill was actually endorsing such aims to be the overarching objectives of living or whether he was simply expressing his finding that many people actually do take such aims as these for life. The contention is that Mill was indeed recognizing that people do choose such goals in life. After all, happiness has been recognized as an objective of life at least since the time of Aristotle, and virtue has a similarly ancient pedigree. It is quite common for ordinary people to adopt such mottos as “Healthy, wealthy, and wise” as aims for life. But we know that having more than one such value can lead to conflicts. This had been a concern to Sidgwick as well as other nineteenth-century moralists. A resolution to the problem was found by the time of the twentieth century, when it was realized that we should not try to achieve definite objectives, but instead look to some other procedure, such as a variety of evolution, to shape our objectives. In that case, we make plans and evaluate them, as we proceed. We should use our values, as Dewey recommended, for guideposts. The book discusses the methods of arriving at such plans and weighs some of the ethical and moral problems an individual or a society might face at the present time.

04/07/2017
WOCA The Source Radio - Author Inteview

In his book Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill refers to the great objects of human life. We may assume that that what Mill calls an object is the same as an objective in modern parlance. The examples of great objectives that Mill cites include power, fame, and money. One wonders how seriously Mill was actually endorsing such aims to be the overarching objectives of living or whether he was simply expressing his finding that many people actually do take such aims as these for life. The contention is that Mill was indeed recognizing that people do choose such goals in life. After all, happiness has been recognized as an objective of life at least since the time of Aristotle, and virtue has a similarly ancient pedigree. It is quite common for ordinary people to adopt such mottos as “Healthy, wealthy, and wise” as aims for life. But we know that having more than one such value can lead to conflicts. This had been a concern to Sidgwick as well as other nineteenth-century moralists. A resolution to the problem was found by the time of the twentieth century, when it was realized that we should not try to achieve definite objectives, but instead look to some other procedure, such as a variety of evolution, to shape our objectives. In that case, we make plans and evaluate them, as we proceed. We should use our values, as Dewey recommended, for guideposts. The book discusses the methods of arriving at such plans and weighs some of the ethical and moral problems an individual or a society might face at the present time.

 
Formats
Paperback Details
  • 12/2017
  • 9781948304160
  • 500 pages
  • $18.99
Ebook Details
  • 12/2017
  • 9781948304177
  • 500 pages
  • $2.99

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