The Abolition of Man

13 January 2007

In this brief book, C.S. Lewis discusses the failing of relativism and affirms the existence of objective moral values. This system of objective values, which Lewis calls the Tao, must be granted if there are to be any values whatsoever. In a long appendix at the end of the book, Lewis shows that all (or almost all) cultures, both past and present, have affirmed some basic moral principles that are part of the Tao. Against the relativist claim that all socieities have their own moral codes, Lewis demonstrates that all humans are guided by an underlying system of objective values which they may or may not recognize.

In the third and final chapter, Lewis foresees a day when men have complete control over the destinies of the next generation. Should men achieve an take advantage of such power, it would not mean that man had finally dominated nature. Rather, it would mean the abolition of man. Unguided by the Tao, man’s decisions about what future generations should be like would by guided only by natural impulses. Thus, by destroying the Tao and attempting to dominate nature, man can only succeed in destroying himself.

Like always, Lewis writes with great clarity and intelligence. The Abolition of Man is an enjoyable read and certainly worth checking out.


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