Michael Shermer in conversation with Rens Bod

In cooperation with Athenaeum Booksellers

09mrt2015 20.00 - 21.30


Have science and reason increased our moral sensibility? American author Michael Shermer definitely thinks so. With 'The Moral Arc. How Science Leads Humanity Toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom' he has written a provocative book on the positive influence of science on ethics. Shermer will engage in a conversation on his theory with historian of science and professor of Digital Humanities Rens Bod.

According to Shermer, we are living in the most morally advanced period of our species’ history. Starting from the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment thinkers have ever more consciously and successfully applied the methods of science to solving social and moral problems. The experimental methods and analytical reasoning of science created the modern world of liberal democracies, civil rights and civil liberties, equal justice under the law, open political and economic borders, free minds and free markets, and prosperity. More people in more places have greater rights, freedoms, liberties, literacy, education, and prosperity—the likes of which no human society in history has ever enjoyed.

The evening wil commence with Shermer laying out his theory, which will include brief forays into the hirstory of freedom rights, women’s rights, gay rights, and animal rights, along with considerations on the nature of evil and moral regress. He explains how abstract reasoning, rationality, empiricism, skepticism—scientific ways of thinking—have profoundly changed the way we perceive morality and, indeed, move us ever closer to a more just world. He will then join Rens Bod in a conversation on the interrelationship of sciencs and morality. Bod will respond to Shermer's thesis from his point of view as a historian of science and professor in Digital Humanities. As the discussion progresses, there will be time for the audience to join in.

Books will be available at the event for both purchase and signing (PIN ONLY). 

About the speakers

Dr. Michael Shermer is the Publisher of Skeptic magazine, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, a regular contributor to Time.com, and a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University. The Moral Arc is the latest of his 12 books. 

Prof. dr. Rens Bod is professor of Digital Humanities and Director of the Center for Digital Humanities at the University of Amsterdam. He is the author of the first overarching history of the humanities ("A New History of the Humanities", OUP 2013). 


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