Martin van Creveld Conscience: A Biography

ISBN 13: 9781780234540

Conscience: A Biography

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9781780234540: Conscience: A Biography
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Many consider conscience to be one of the most important—if not the fundamental—quality that makes us human, distinguishing us from animals, on one hand, and machines on the other. But what is conscience, exactly? Is it a product of our biological roots, as Darwin thought, or is it a purely social invention? If the latter, how did it come into the world?

In this biography of that most elusive human element, Martin van Creveld explores conscience throughout history, ranging across numerous subjects, from human rights to health to the environment. Along the way he considers the evolution of conscience in its myriad, occasionally strange, and ever-surprising permutations. He examines the Old Testament, which—erroneously, it turns out—is normally seen as the fountainhead from which the Western idea of conscience has sprung. Next, he takes us to meet Antigone, the first person on record to explicitly speak of conscience. We then visit with the philosophers Zeno, Cicero and Seneca; with Christian thinkers such as Paul, Augustine, Aquinas, and, above all, Martin Luther; as well as modern intellectual giants such as Machiavelli, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, and Freud. Individual chapters are devoted to Japan, China, and even the Nazis, as well as the most recent discoveries in robotics and neuroscience and how they have contributed to the ways we think about our own morality. Ultimately, van Creveld shows that conscience remains as elusive as ever, a continuously mysterious voice that guides how we think about right and wrong.  

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About the Author:

Martin van Creveld is professor emeritus at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and writes on subjects ranging from military history to the history of women. He is the author of many books, including, most recently, The Age of Airpower and Wargames

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Van Creveld, Martin
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Book Description Reaktion Books, United Kingdom, 2015. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Many consider conscience to be one of the most important and fundamental qualities that distinguishes humans from animals and machines, but to this day it remains a largely unknowable concept. What is conscience? Is it a product of our biological roots, as Darwin thought, or is it a purely social invention? If so, how did it come to be? Beginning in ancient Egypt, Martin van Creveld explores conscience throughout history, ranging across numerous subjects from human rights to health. Along the way van Creveld considers the evolution of conscience in its myriad, occasionally strange and ever surprising permutations. The book examines the Old Testament, which - erroneously, it turns out - is normally seen as the fountainhead from which the Western idea of conscience sprang. As we journey through the ages, we meet Antigone, the first person on record to speak explicitly of conscience, and encounter the philosophers Zeno, Cicero and Seneca; outstanding Christian thinkers such as St Paul, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and, above all, Martin Luther; and modern intellectual giants such as Machiavelli, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel,Nietzsche and Freud. Individual chapters are devoted to Japan, China and the Nazis, as well as the most recent discoveries in robotics and neuroscience. The book concludes by arguing that the claims of the artificial intelligence community notwithstanding, we are still no closer to understanding the nature of conscience. As one computer expert has said, we shall probably build machines able to mimic conscience before we know what it really is. Seller Inventory # BTE9781780234540

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