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The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis
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The Abolition of Man (original 1947; edition 1978)

by C.S. Lewis

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3,656351,443 (4.03)1 / 50
Member:ebnelson
Title:The Abolition of Man
Authors:C.S. Lewis
Info:MacMillian Publishing Co. (1978), Edition: Reprint, Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:education theory, 2012 read, technology, human resources

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The Abolition of Man by C. S. Lewis (1947)

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This is not the sort of book you take to the beach for a leisurely read. Nor is it the kind of book you read in bed before retiring; no, this is the kind of book you need to sit up straight in a chair for, with a notebook and pen, or at least a highlighter...
It is one of Lewis' shorter books, but it is packed w/his customary logical arguments and illustrations. In Abolition of Man , Lewis writes about the cultural implications of subverting natural law. He starts out with a refutation of The Green Book , a pseudonym for a text used in British schools which taught that there was no objective value, only subjective value.
He goes on to describe what he calls The Tao "...the doctrine of objective value, the belief that certain attitudes are really true and others really false, to the kind of thing the universe is and the kind of things we are. "
The appendix to this book fascinated me. In it Lewis notes several laws, , "The Law of General Beneficence," "Duties to Parents, Elders, Ancestors," "The Law of Justice," etc.. It is remarkable how much these references coincide: the Christian 10 commandments, The Ancient Chinese Analects, Old Norse traditions, The Bhagavad Gita, to name a few.
Lewis by no means implies here that all religions are the same; no, even a cursory study reveals this is not true. His intention is to prove the universality of some basic values.

I must confess that many of Lewis' references went over my head. I never learned Latin and so his use of Latin words to illustrate ideas is lost on me. As are the many references to characters in ancient literature. Despite these limitations (of mine!), I found the book wonderful, though provoking and understandable. ( )
  homeschoolmimzi | Nov 28, 2016 |
The Abolition of Man is the text of a lecture series Lewis gave at the University of Durham on education. But it is about so much more than just education. It is a defense of a way of thinking and an attack against moral relativism. In response to fads that he sees as a dangerous undermining of education and the development of children as moral beings, Lewis introduces the concept of Tao, or moral law. He splits his discussion over three lectures: the first lays out his complaints, the second he describes how those he is discussing operate, and the third discusses what would happen if the other side won. There is also an appendix of quotes at the end demonstrating what he means by Tao through examples from foundational texts from around the world. Mostly Lewis is concerned that future generations learn how to think and how to recognize truth when they see it. In a world that in which the line between truth and falsehood is only growing grayer with time, Lewis' words have only grown in importance and relevance.

Whether you are interesting in educating your family, yourself, or your society, this is a book worth reading that will definitely make you think. It's not his easiest book, but it may be Lewis' most important. Highly recommended
  inge87 | Nov 5, 2016 |
Macmillan Pub, 1947/1955-paperback
  keithhamblen | Jun 13, 2016 |
(Macmillan Publishing Co)
Theme: "how education develops man's sense of morality"
Objectionable: "evolution" 80, other possibilities marked
Chapters I Men without Chests: man's affections are necessary to action 33-35
II The Way: There is reality with absolutes (called the Tao p. 28ff) 52, 56, 57, 75, 91, how known 60-61
III The Abolition of Man: man's conquest of nature is accomplishing nature's conquest of man 69, 77, 80, 88

Felt emotional weight 77
Magic and science are twins used to accomplish one man over another 87-88
  keithhamblen | Jun 13, 2016 |
This book was radical in its day, though it now seems a bit outdated. It basically proposes that moral relativity is illogical, and that there has to be some generally understood life principles. Lewis refers to this, broadly, as the 'Tao', while acknowledging that it encompasses all religions. While writing from his usual Christian perspective, this is not an argument for God's existence, or even theism in general. The writing is good, and quite thought-provoking, but since I didn't agree with all his premises (eg that patriotism is always right) I couldn't always follow the arguments fully.. despite agreeing with most of his conclusions. An interesting read that doesn't take very long as it's only a short book. ( )
1 vote SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
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The Master said, He who sets to work on a different strand destroys the whole fabric.

Confucius, Analects II.16
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I doubt whether we are sufficiently attentive to the importance of elementary text-books.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060652942, Paperback)

C.S. Lewis's The Abolition of Man purports to be a book specifically about public education, but its central concerns are broadly political, religious, and philosophical. In the best of the book's three essays, "Men Without Chests," Lewis trains his laser-sharp wit on a mid- century English high school text, considering the ramifications of teaching British students to believe in idle relativism, and to reject "the doctrine of objective value, the belief that certain attitudes are really true, and others really false, to the kind of thing the universe is and the kinds of things we are." Lewis calls this doctrine the "Tao," and he spends much of the book explaining why society needs a sense of objective values. The Abolition of Man speaks with astonishing freshness to contemporary debates about morality; and even if Lewis seems a bit too cranky and privileged for his arguments to be swallowed whole, at least his articulation of values seems less ego-driven, and therefore is more useful, than that of current writers such as Bill Bennett and James Dobson. --Michael Joseph Gross

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:25 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Collects seven key works by C.S. Lewis, including "Mere Christianity," "The Screwtape letters," and "The problem of pain."

(summary from another edition)

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2 editions of this book were published by Ediciones Encuentro.

Editions: 847490255X, 8474908728

 

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