Universally Preferable Behaviour

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Universally Preferable Behaviour [Book Review]

About the book

A Rational Proof of Secular Ethics

In many fairy tales, there lives a terrible beast of stupendous power, a dragon or a basilisk, which tyrannizes the surrounding lands. The local villagers tremble before this monster; they sacrifice their animals, pay money and blood in the hopes of appeasing its murderous impulses.

This "beast" is the belief that it is impossible to define an objective, rational, secular and scientific ethical system. This "beast" is the illusion that morality must forever be lost in the irrational swamps of gods and governments, forever lacking logical justification and clear definition...

This "beast" is the superstition that, without the tirades of parents, the bullying of gods or the guns of governments , we cannot be both rational and good.(43-44).

The reason that scientists do not need a government or a Vatican is that scientists have an objective methodology for resolving disputes: the scientific method. The reason that language does not need a central authority to guide its evolution is that it relies on the "free market" of accumulated individual preferences for style and utility. (79-81).

The truth is that we need morality; the lie is that gods or governments can rationally define or justly enforce it. (84).

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. (92).

Perfectionism is, in essence , procrastination, and I consider the task of this book to be too important – and the dangers of false morality too grave and imminent – to spend so long trying to achieve heaven that we all end up in hell. (155-156).

The rejection of a proof that conforms to rational standards is a rejection of rational standards as a whole. (375-376).

In other words, where there is no consistency, there can be no accuracy.(432-433).

Truth is also a measure of the correlation between the ideas in our minds and the nature and behaviour of matter and energy in the real world. (459-460).

Ethics as a discipline can be defined as any theory regarding preferable human behaviour that is universal, objective, consistent – and binding. (556-557).

"There is no such thing as truth," then I am making a statement that I consider to be true claiming that truth does not exist. Again, my argument self-destructs.(596-597).

Thus any valid scientific theory must be (a) universal, (b) logical, (c) empirically verifiable, (d) reproducible and (e) as simple as possible. (832-833).

throughout human history, we see that the most dangerous instruments in the hands of men are not guns, or bombs, or knives, or poisons, but rather moral theories. (1389-1390).

it is clear that by far the most dangerous tool that men possess is morality.(1393-1394).

The more false the moral theory is, the earlier that it must be inflicted upon children. (1409).

Thus we can reasonably say that where choice is absent, or inapplicable, morality is also absent, or inapplicable.(1558-1559).

The "null zone" is the lair of the beast we hunt. (2412).

The logical error always made in the defense of the government is to imagine that any collective moral judgments being applied to any group of people is not also being applied to the group which rules over them.(2578-2580).

The most significant precursor to what UPB reveals about the government is what science revealed about religion.(2835-2836).

The greatest challenge of philosophy is the definition of a universal, objective and absolute morality that does not rely on God or the state. The moment that we rely on God or the state for the definition of morality, morality no longer remains universal, objective and absolute.(2868-2870).

Thinking about thinking is the hardest mental discipline of all. (2920-2921).

The collective fantasy that there exists a "null zone," where (2926-2928).


Review Title
Universally Preferable Behaviour [Book Review]
Media Type
  • Book
  • eBook (Kindle/ePub/PDF)
  • Audio Program
Author or Creator
Stefan Molyneux

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