A Decent Life

A Decent Life[PDF / Epub] ☀ A Decent Life By Todd May – Bluevapours.co.uk You’re probably never going to be a saint Even so let’s face it you could be a better person We all could But what does that mean for you   In a world full of suffering and deprivation it’s eas You’re probably never going to be a saint Even so let’s face it you could be a better person We all could But what does that mean A Decent PDF/EPUB ² for you   In a world full of suffering and deprivation it’s easy to despair—and it’s also easy to judge ourselves for not doing Even if we gave away everything we own and devoted ourselves to good works it wouldn’t solve all the world’s problems It would make them better though So is that what we have to do Is anything less a moral failure Can we lead a fundamentally decent life without taking such drastic steps   Todd May has answers He’s not the sort of philosopher who tells us we have to be model citizens who display perfect ethics in every decision we make He’s realistic he understands that living up to ideals is a constant struggle In A Decent Life May leads readers through the traditional philosophical bases of a number of arguments about what ethics asks of us then he develops a reasonable and achievable way of thinking about them one that shows us how we can use philosophical insights to participate in the complicated world around us He explores how we should approach the many relationships in our lives—with friends family animals people in need—through the use of a forgiving if no less fundamentally serious moral compass With humor insight and a lively and accessible style May opens a discussion about how we can realistically lead the good life that we aspire to   A philosophy of goodness that leaves it all but unattainable is ultimately self defeating Instead Todd May stands at the forefront of a new wave of philosophy that sensibly reframes our morals and redefines what it means to live A Decent Life.

Todd has been teaching at Clemson for nearly thirty years For many of those years his area of specialization in philosophy was recent French thought especially that A Decent PDF/EPUB ² of Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze More recently he has turned his attention to broader life concerns meaning in life coping with suffering acting with moral decency and so on He is the author of sixteen books of philosophy.

A Decent Life PDF/EPUB è A Decent  PDF/EPUB ²
  • Hardcover
  • 232 pages
  • A Decent Life
  • Todd May
  • 10 February 2015
  • 9780226609744

10 thoughts on “A Decent Life

  1. Lee says:

    I read this because I was curious what the consultant on philosophy and morality for The Good Place would have to say This isn't a primer on the academic side of morality often seen in that show The initial chapter lays down a basis for morality derived from a few sources some modern Then the chapters are divided by applying that to those you directly interact with in life outward to aspects of life you don't have direct interaction with people you don't know animals and environment and societypolitics I found the early chapters a dense read but the later chapters especially on environment and politics to be much easier to read It's well done but those that are on the conservative end of the political spectrum won't appreciate very much of the book if they have no interest in a liberal perspective While May takes aim at moral failings of liberals and conservatives he makes it clear he's politically liberal and minces no words on why

  2. Libby Beyreis says:

    I was expecting a book on moral philosophy but this is really just a book on the author's perception of morality and a hectoring and presumptuous morality at that I wasn't expecting to be lectured about climate change and vegetarianism at such length and I thought the author was speaking from a position of unexamined privilege throughout I nearly threw the book across the room at the following passage during the extended vegetarian lecture Unfortunately healthful eating generally costs than unhealthful eating at least in the US It would be too much to ask of those among us whose budgets are strained to go very far down the non meat road But even here there are decent ways to approach meat eating One could for instance avoid veal and goose liver pate ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME How many poor people do you know Todd who eat goose liver pate I was so disgusted I could barely bring myself to finish the book and even then I was skimming There was a little interesting information about different moral philosophies in the first chapter which is why this didn't get one star but this book completely failed at it's stated goal to create a viable moral system for decency unless you're a rich white guy with a tendency for sanctimonyAnd just let me note I actually happen to believe that climate change is one of the critical issues of our time; and I've been working to transition my family to a vegetarian diet That still doesn't mean that I want a self righteous lecture about them

  3. David Eisler says:

    If you want to be a better person but aren't sure what that means this book is a good place to start May writes about issues in moral philosophy with clarity and charm and takes care to avoid simple pronouncements about the good life by grounding the book in a realistic approach to morality The short version is simply to acknowledge that other people also have lives and to incorporate that simple acknowledgment into our own everyday actions A worthwhile approach from an enjoyable book

  4. Angie Boyter says:

    If you want to read this book you’re halfway thereTodd May is a professor of philosophy at Clemson University who has written books on subjects like poststructuralist anarchism These books are not likely to show up on most people’s bookshelves or Kindles but this book might and maybe even shouldA number of philosophers throughout the ages have developed schools of ethical thought and in the first chapter May discusses theories like conseuentialism deontology and virtue ethics from thinkers like Immanuel Kant Aristotle and Peter Singer The problem with most of these theories in May’s opinion is that they set the bar too high or too abstractly and it would be difficult to live up to their reuirements So A Decent Life doesn’t try to define what it means to lead a “good life” at a level that most people could not attain such as altruism Instead it lays out how we might lead a “decent life” an approach that recognizes our moral limits It also avoids for the most part casting moral actions in terms of duties or obligations but instead emphasizes conducting ourselves to make other lives and “our often fraught world” a little better off because of our presenceMay’s approach to morality has a simple framework “the idea that decent moral action recognizes that there are others in the world who have lives to live” The rest of the chapters describe the various aspects of a decent life within that framework First there are our relations with the people closest to us those with whom we have personal contact Then there are the other people with whom we share our world or who come before or after us in the world Broadening our recognition of other lives a bit further another chapter talks about being decent to nonhuman life even if you are allergic to them as May is to cats The final aspect of the moral life is political which recognizes that we are all members of some organized society a political entity In the concluding chapter May tells us how we can use the stories we tell about ourselves to help us recognize what our own values are May’s writing is insightful often in ways I had not expected I was struck for example by his description of the impact of gazing directly into someone’s face and how it makes us recognize that other person as an entity a living being Most of the chapters lay out general frameworks that will fit people in very different environments and with many different values In the chapter on Politics and Decency though he becomes very prescriptive and is likely to alienate if not actually offend many decent people For example he says “In the United Stateswe cannot think about our political situation without taking into account the history of racial oppression To attempt to ask the uestion of acting in a politically decent manner without reflecting on race would be to miss a central defining aspect of that situation” He rejects the value system that many non racist people espouse that prefers race blind attitudes Both of these should be respected as “decent” approaches to political discourse In addition his discussion of political action is almost entirely about protest and opposition He does disapprove of lack of civility in protests or instances when liberal protestors attempt to keep a conservative speaker from appearing on a college campus or vice versa However there is little or no reference to positive and cooperative paths to political morality like working in political campaigns serving on board and commissions testifying on legislation or lobbying for programs The overall message from this chapter is that a decent life politically must agree with the author’s political philosophy and as a result many readers may reject what is otherwise an excellent bookIf you share Todd May’s commitment to poststructuralist anarchism this is definitely the book for you Even if your approach to being decent politically differs from his if you can ignore your likely reaction to May’s recipe for living a decent life politically there is a lot to like and a lot to learn in A Decent Life As the subtitle says it's about morality for the rest of us My thanks to Netgalley for an advance review copy of this bookReread Jun 2020 for The Sunday Philosophers

  5. Chris says:

    This is a really good survey of contemporary philosophy and how it applies to contemporary life I am grateful for the exposure to the Ethics of Care school of thoughtI found some of May’s arguments weak Altruism is not solely the impetus for giving to an organization to feed the hungry The act is complicated because we must consider if our dollars go to the hungry and not to simply supporting an overly bureaucratic aid organization Are our dollars misspent if there are people without the necessary food because of unaddressed political machinations or climate change Personally I don’t give to people begging on the street because A there is evidence in my community that some of the panhandling is part of a criminaldrugprostitution ring BThe person begging may be using any money for drugs and refusing other available assistance and CI worked with the homeless in the 1980s saw President Reagan deregulate the housing markets and doing so create a permanent Homeless class of people in the United States and recognise that without any drastic change to the way we care for the poorest people in this nation my uarters and dollars are not going to solve anythingThere was another argument May makes that assumes all people alive wish to be alive There uite possibly could be folks alive who simply don’t want to kill themselves or are otherwise too cowardly or too relational or both to kill themselvesI wonder if May has read any of the philosophy suggesting humans “step aside” so to speak and leave the Earth to the other remaining species who seem to manage existence much betterHowever we leave this existence May provides a decent discussion of “Decency” here I’m not blowing my own hornbut I do think that anyone reading this book is already living a decent lifeOh and there’s a list of “Nine Rules” for “Moral Decency” at the back of the book that I found odd flippant and totally unnecessary If I returned to a room and found my coffee I had just left there covered with a napkin I would not drink any of that coffee That is just weird

  6. Kristen McBee says:

    A readable text about finding the sweet spot between moral depravity and moral altruism in which we can realistically conduct our lives As expected with philosophical content it leaves a lot to for the reader to think about but May also offers examples of concrete actions as guidance

  7. William says:

    Did you like the good placeDo you want to hear from fourth season ChidiThen read thisIf you're looking for a work of academic philosophy this isn't it If you want a primer try Russell's history of western philosophy It's about a thousand pagesOr if you want a primer on analytic thinking you could do a lot worse than Glymour's Thinking Things ThroughBut if what you're interested in is Chidi with fewer stomach aches This is the book

  8. Jamie Moesser says:

    Todd May an author asks some interesting uestions If we gave away everything we owned and devoted ourselves to good works would it solve all the world’s problems It probably wouldn't but because it would at least help is that what we have to do Is anything less a moral failure Can we lead a fundamentally decent life without taking such drastic steps We all ask ourselves these uestions to some extent don't we In his book A Decent Life Morality for the Rest of Us he attempts some answers He's not the first to do so nor will he be the last but in his attempt he gives an interesting philosophical and thoroughly researched rationale for a decently moral life He explores answers to the uestion of what doing our best really means in light of everyday lived experiences I don't know about you but I'm always trying to do my best and worrying that it's not enough These days many might wonder if doing their best means nothing less than uitting their jobs to attend Black Lives Matter protests every day giving all of their money to a New York City hospital or running for a political office in the midst of a virulent extremely contentious political environment where hardly anyone knows how to actually listen communicate and take constructive action So May's book is very salient right nowFor example he says Political actionreuires than dissatisfaction It reuires hope In the Black Lives Matter movement as in all social movements dissatisfaction is definitely part of the process It needs to be expressed and recognized But in the political arena as in all of our arenas be they social familial or personal dissatisfaction should be just the beginning of the process of change Change cannot happen without hope at the very leastHe also says In a society like ours where racism is woven into our everyday social relationships common decency involves a recognition that those of other races genders sexual orientations and so on are fellow citizens and should be treated as such A mentor of mine once said that in a country like ours we are all at best recovering racists We can all be better at seeing everyone with whom we share this democracy as fully human as we areHe also brings up a really good point about confronting racism There are those who say thatwe should always confront racism when it occurs regardless of the character of the person expressing it I'm not convinced of this With an overt racist such defensiveness is fine The goal there is not to change the person but rather to fence off their ability to display their racism By contrast with someone who is unknowingly expressing a racist sentiment making them defensive is less likely to encourage change than a sympathetic explanation in a private venue Recognizing that people of good will can also express racist sentiments and so treating them also as people of good will can go a long way toward encouraging personal reflection on their partAll this being said though I felt this book would have been stronger if it had 1 a accessible tone and 2 fewer words 's description of A Decent Life says the book possesses humor insight and a lively and accessible style While it does possess a lot of insight the humor is scant and the style is uite philosophical and somewhat academic in nature It brought to my mind books like Frailty Suffering and Vice Flourishing in the Face of Human Limitations by BJ Fowers FC Richardson and BD Slife Too books like Love Your Enemies How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt by Arthur C Brooks; Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When the Stakes are High by K Patterson J Grenny R McMillan and A Switzler; and even The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey all make points similar to May's in fewer wordsHowever overall Todd May's A Decent Life Morality for the Rest of Us is definitely a good book to add to one's library of thought provoking and hopefully moral action inciting readsNote This honest review was provided in exchange for a free ARC of A Decent Life from NetGalley

  9. J Earl says:

    A Decent Life by Todd May puts into words a way of living a decent life which in his terms is one that is moral without being either unattainable or too difficult as in reuiring so much selfless action as to be counter to one's own happinessLike one of my early professors of ethics and moral philosophy used to say the theories that we study are just that theories Each has strengths and weaknesses More practically they each seem particularly useful in some situations while being almost absurd in others He referred to these as the elements in a moral or ethical toolbox In other words we take life as it happens and do what we feel is the most ethical thing for each situation Not uite the same as what has been called situational ethics which still has some strict aspects to it Some situations call for a utilitarian approach while others call for a Kantian approach Some well a bit of a mix and match What May has done is try to give a little form to this toolbox without making it either unrealistic or too far toward the kind of moral relativism that basically results in a free for all where rationalizations substitute for moral contemplationHis system if it can be called one has an extremely workable framework If one is not too familiar with the various schools of thought beyond the very simple almost overly simplified to serve as an easy foil explanations May offers this decent life would make the world a better place if followed by all or even most people For those who have studied the topic a little bit and incorporated some elements into teaching of their own you will likely find a few places where you would make a small adjustment to what you would include That said just coming up with something this well considered and wide ranging is uite an accomplishment If you don't care to spend a lot of time reading and studying different theories in moral philosophy which is very understandable this work will serve as a wonderful toolbox for you May acknowledges in several places that many specific choices will be individual in nature while remaining within his system while other such systems would for the most part have outcomes that everyone should come to if the theory is applied accurately That customization makes this a valuable book for anyone who wonders how one can be a better member of society while also taking care of oneselfReviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley

  10. Christina says:

    While bringing up some interesting points this book is basically the philosophical euivalent of a teenager working their first retail job That's not to say that this is a bad thing but this is like the very beginning of crafting a working framework for a decent life rather than the complex examination that I was expecting so it would be a good place to start if you never had to work at a Forever 21 And similarly yes I know that reading Todd May of all modern philosophers makes me something of a basic bitch shut up While basic I did enjoy the first two chapters in spite of their simplicity because they seemed willing to find balances and compromises that can realistically exist within the framework and limitations of today's modern world However chapters 3 4 and 5 seemed to divert themselves from the topic at hand namely to find the moral middle ground for a basic decent life that can reasonably be lived and instead seemed to present the case from a philosophical perspective that you should care about certain issues namely climate change extending decency to non human animals and politics and while I agreed with almost everything May said on these topics although the way the argument about non human animals was presented made me uncomfortable telling us why we should care never seemed to be the point of this thought exercise and served only to distract and preach to the converted but who knows if this book was indeed supposed to be a stand in for a year of working retail maybe some of these arguments did need to be made after allThe conclusion of the book was of what I was expecting from the book in its entirety because it reframed something we do every day storytelling and asked us to deeply examine our lives through that lens and ponder what it could mean for those around us and the world at large It was easily my favorite segment of the book Still I think there is value in the idea that you don't have to give away all of your money or vital organs just to be a good person and that instead of aspiring to be the best it is enough to aspire to be better And I think that kind of philosophical realism needs to be widely encouraged

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