Sense and Goodness Without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism
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Sense and Goodness Without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  237 ratings  ·  21 reviews
If God does not exist, then what does? Is there good and evil, and should we care? How do we know what's true anyway? And can we make any sense of this universe, or our own lives? Sense and Goodness without God answers all these questions in lavish detail, without complex jargon. A complete worldview is presented and defended, covering every subject from knowledge to art,...more
Paperback, 444 pages
Published February 23rd 2005 by AuthorHouse (first published February 1st 2005)
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Sense and Goodness Without God by Richard Carrier

Sense and Goodness Without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism is a great reference book about the metaphysical naturalist worldview. It's a book the answers the big philosophical questions about our world in a comprehensive and thorough fashion. Mr. Carrier tackles a very ambitious project; he covers a lot of interesting issues with a luxury of details, such as: religion, knowledge, science, art, politics, etc...The book has 444 pages and...more
Corey Alan
The content in this book will require much writing and discussion. I was already a "metaphysical naturalist" upon reading this book, and already very familiar with Carrier and his thought.

The first 80% of the book is wonderfully argued and arranged. Ethics are not my focus in philosophy (for me it's epistemology, aesthetics, and politics), so his discussions there are a little over my head, but I believe I understood them. I have some studying to do on the subject, but I must admit that what Ca...more
Jim Johnson
The author did a very good job of building his case. He used logic and reason to demonstratrate that metaphysical naturalism is the only worldview that is supported by the evidence. Carrier also made an honest effort to present a Christian refutation to his views; and convincingly debunked dissenting points. I didn't necessarily like that he focussed so much time on the writings of JP Moreland but I would have to assume that he did so to give a consistent Christian perspective which was aimed at...more
Sep 15, 2008 Fox rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: atheism
I'd rather give it 3.5 stars.
I skipped a bit and wish I skipped more.
The text reads like a textbook.
The best part in the entire book is the forward by the author.
This book attempts to be an all-inclusive read on every aspect of living a secular humanistic life--giving you the answer to every question which may be asked. This leads a very long, drawn out book. His "Defense of a Metaphysical Naturalism," defends all things defendable.
His material is good. He also does a great job of very accuratel...more
Richard Carrier has obviously done a lot of thinking about the Big Questions: who are we, why are we here, what does it mean to love, to be a good person, to matter. And, by and large, his answers are sound and well thought out, especially in the realm of morality and the origin of the universe. His views on the scientific method, art and politics I either quibbled with or outright disagreed with. But he did get me to confess that yes, I am an atheist. And I care about what it means to be a good...more
"Yet our very lives are a joyous occasion. By existing, and making of ourselves something good, we give ourselves and each other value, we create purpose and meaning. Neither existing by accident nor existing only a short while changes anything about the value of existing, the value of getting to be, to behold and to know the universe, to create something."
-- Richard Carrier

Richard Carrier's book "Sense and Goodness without God" is a fairly comprehensive presentation of a world view based on...more
Drew Vogel
When it's good, it's good, and the early portions of the book are mostly good. I have small complaints on the sections involving free will and morality. When it comes to politics and (especially) economics, the author unleashes an avalanche of derp. He's clearly out of his depth on these topics, and the discussion of them is utterly worthless.
Alan Carey
I've just started to re-read this book as I read it a few years back in dead tree format. I love the way this guy thinks and writes, and as I read it the first time I discovered that someone had managed to write the book I would have always wanted to write, but Richard Carrier has done a far superior and more coherent task than I could ever have done.

Sense and Goodness Without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism
Excellent discussion of metaphysical naturalism. It is unfortunately an overly broad discussion with regards to specific applications. I followed all of his logic and arguments until the very end, when he gets into his personal political views. Somehow there is a disconnect between the evidence he demands of religion, and the evidence he demands for government policies. He understands the misery brought on by all collective socialistic regimes, except the modern liberal ones. He also describes a...more
Dustin Voliva
Richard Carrier attempts to do a lot with this book, which is namely to describe and defend his entire worldview: metaphysical naturalism. As such, he succeeds at the former and fails somewhat in the latter. Do to the sheer amount of subjects he covers, there were bound to be mistakes and his last two essays, natural beauty and natural politics, more rooted in opinion than science, are definitely his weakest points. Instead of painting a bibliography at the end of the book, he puts each referenc...more
Timothy Culp
Through chaos, order eventually exhibits itself like drawing a sequence of numbers from a deck of cards. Interesting and thought provoking arguments.
As an atheist, skeptic, and secularist, there was a lot I liked about this book. I do not have much experience with formal philosophy, so I considered this an interesting taste of the field, and I would like to read more about it.

However, the last few chapters seemed to go off the rails for me. I don't see why a discussion of the nature of beauty is relevant to this book, and the section on Richard's politics seemed more opinionated than reasoned.
Richard Carrier is a PhD student at Columbia University who wrote this simple, consistent and jargon-free book about free will, and the nature of the universe, arguing from a naturalistic perspective that there is only a physical world without God, gods or spirits, but that human beings can still live a life of
love, meaning, and joy. Even though I myself am a believer in God, this is my favorite book on naturalistic philosophy and ethics.
Excellent. The book covers a broad array of topics and engages with the highest levels of current discourse.

Carrier is a skillful writer and manages to get the key points into each chapter. The bibliography, although I haven't had the chance to read much from it yet, looks like a good reference point for more in-depth research.
Went to hear Mr. Carrier give a presentation about this book. His views on the naturalist world view is very interesting and thought provoking. But he dismissed my question and comment that his scientific worldview is similar to what Marx and Engles were talking about their philosophical works.
Nov 12, 2008 Jami rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
Carrier's book has a lot of good material. It's quite dense, and I admit that I skipped around a bit (as did several others in our book group), but it definitely presents a very complete secular worldview.
Jeffrey McKinley
A magnum opus on philosophy and why a person doesn't need belief in god to find meaning and morality in life. Simply and elegantly written and a must for anyone questioning their world view.
Ben Lawson
I hate to say this, but this was as boring as the textbook it seemed to aspire to. I agreed with much that it took too long to say, but eventually I gave up.
Chris Pederson
when you're tired of all the supernatural shenanigans piled on to everything... check this out. and I met him at Skepticon5, nice guy.
Excellent, clearly written defense of metaphysical naturalism.
Lyndon Lamborn
Very worthwhile.
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Richard Cevantis Carrier is an American historian, published philosopher, and prominent defender of the American freethought movement. He is well known for his writings on Internet Infidels, otherwise known as the Secular Web, where he served as Editor-in-Chief for several years. As an advocate of atheism and metaphysical naturalism, he has published articles in books, journals and magazines, and...more
More about Richard Carrier...
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