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A Preface to Morals
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A Preface to Morals

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  41 ratings  ·  12 reviews
1929. Lippman, a Pulitzer Prize winning political columnist, helped found the liberal New Republic magazine. His writings there influenced Woodrow Wilson, who selected Lippman to help formulate his famous Fourteen Points and develop the concept of the League of Nations. A Preface to Morals endorses liberal democracy. Partial Contents: Part I The Dissolution of the Ancestra ...more
Paperback, 356 pages
Published May 4th 2005 by Kessinger Publishing (first published May 1929)
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Lippmann—who was an important American intellectual in the early half of the Twentieth Century but has now almost entirely been forgotten—penned this impassioned and well thought-out primer for his favored brand of Humanism, a doctrine that might provide a livable code and spiritual comfort for those who—like Lippmann—were disillusioned and disturbed by both the atheistic, sanguinary, and destructive fervor of the Marxist revolutionary movements and the empty, purposeless gnawing within the broa ...more
Walter Lippmann was an influential journalist and political theorist of the twentieth century. A Preface to Morals, his most well-known and influential book, was first published in 1929. I was introduced to Lippmann in the late sixties when the Time Reading Program included this book in its offerings. In it Lippmann argues that in modern society traditional religious faith has lost its power to function as a source of moral authority. He asserts that ancient religious doctrine is no longer relev ...more
Graham Laur
Classic study of secular morality.
A Preface To Morals by Walter Lippmann (1929)

The reader this book addresses is a skeptic of any theistic fundamentalist religion which prescribes morality. In Part I, Lippmann does comment occasionally on problems that a fundamentalist view of Christianity has for him, but primarily he tries to show the skeptic the moral consequences of a rejection of fundamentalist faith. He is not satisfied with liberal theological solutions. In Part II, he advocates humanism based upon science. Part III inclu
David Alexander
"The unlovely quality of much modern religiosity is due to these doubts. So much of it's belief is synthetic. It is forced, made, insisted upon, because it is no longer simple and inevitable. The angry absurdities which fundamentalists propound against 'evolution' are not often due to their confidence in the inspiration of the Bible. They are due to lack of confidence, to doubt resisted like an annoying tune which a man cannot shake out of his head. For if the militant fundamentalists were utter ...more
Lauren Albert
To be fair to Lippman, perhaps this book read as a revelation in 1929 when it was first published. But more than 80 years later, his call to humanism, and his portrayal of the failure of the traditional source of morality for most people, are old hat. But the book is also repetitious--perhaps for the same reason--perhaps he felt it necessary in 1929 to pull out all the armory.
Dan Yates
I read this book right out of college at about 22/23 years old. I didn't understand all of it at the time, but it got me started down the path of radical atheism. It's a tough read, but I recommend it to those serious about moral atheism. It was written in the 30's, but is still startlingly relevant.
Jake Berlin
Amazingly relevant, given that it was written in the 1920s. I suppose that's because the moral underpinnings that Lippmann focuses on derive from reflections on human nature, which hasn't changed much, if at all. Very well written.
Dec 17, 2008 Nate marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-read-at-home
Very excited to lurk through this one. Rob gave me a copy with a dare I say "Tattered Cover" that is from 1929, which I believe is a first edition... The FOOL!
S Glenn Krochmal
A book that changed my life
Still timely.
Salad fingers
interesting read.
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Walter Lippmann was an American intellectual, writer, reporter, and political commentator who gained notoriety for being among the first to introduce the concept of Cold War. Lippmann was twice awarded (1958 and 1962) a Pulitzer Prize for his syndicated newspaper column, "Today and Tomorrow."
More about Walter Lippmann...
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