Limit search to available items
Book Cover
Author Singer, Seymour Jonathan, 1924-2017.

Title The splendid feast of reason / S. Jonathan Singer
Published Berkeley : University of California Press, [2001]
Online access available from:
EBSCO eBook Academic Collection    View Resource Record  


Description 1 online resource (xxiii, 242 pages) : illustrations
Contents PREFACE; 1 Homage to the Square; 2 Making the External World Safe for Humanity: The Roles of Myth and Religion; 3 Deciphering the Real World; 4 Modern Biology and the Response to Vitalism; 5 Biological Repair and the Realities of Human Life, Aging, and Death; 6 Behavior and the Genes; 7 Life's Ancient Strategies for Survival; 8 The Future Prospects of Biology; 9 Off with the Old Ideas, On with the New; 10 Our Dual Worlds: The Concept of Complementarity; 11 Rationalists in an Irrational World; Appendix A: The Structures and Functions of Protein Molecules; Appendix B: The Genetic Code
Summary Jonathan Singer's witty, erudite book is a celebration of rationality and an urgent call to make use of intelligence and reason to better cope with human problems. Emphasizing the importance of rationality's greatest achievement, modern science, Singer--one of the foremost biologists of our era--argues that for the first time in several million years humanity has at its disposal the tools for an objective understanding of the external world. Singer demonstrates that, today more than ever, the fullest exercise of rationality is essential if humanity is to rein in a runaway technology and control an explosion of the human population that together threaten to devastate life on this planet within only a few more generations. The intrusion of reason and rationality into our largely irrational world has been painfully slow, uneven, and often unwelcome. Singer explains that for rationalists the founding of modern science--which took place only a few hundred years ago--has overthrown many of the myths of conventional wisdom and dogmas of traditional religions. Yet these beliefs still hold sway over the irrational world, obstructing efforts to deal sensibly with the problematic future of mankind. The core of The Splendid Feast of Reason is an engaging and accessible account of the knowledge that modern science provides. Singer offers an absorbing discussion of how life works, of the nature of reproduction, aging, and death, and of the necessary fragility of the individual life compared to the resilience of life itself. He emphasizes the primary role of the genes in determining the structural organization and the behaviors of living things, including humans. He also stresses the nature and mechanisms of biological evolution, mechanisms that have now been placed in jeopardy because of human ignorance and irrational appetites. Finally, Singer delves into the enigma of the real world with its irrational and chaotic operations and offers suggestions of how a rationalist can not only survive, but thrive in it
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index
Notes Print version record
Subject Life sciences -- Philosophy.
Science -- Philosophy.
Form Electronic book
LC no. 00069957
ISBN 0520224256 (alk. paper)
0520937325 (electronic bk.)
1417523948 (electronic bk.)
9780520224254 (alk. paper)
9780520937321 (electronic bk.)
9781417523948 (electronic bk.)