Press Release from Continuum Books, April 2006

Ted Honderich's proof of the force of philosophy in thinking about right and wrong in the world now


Britain's outstanding real and public philosopher, internationally distinguished

Reasoning with courage and passion on the greatest questions of our time -- and what is to come

First readers' judgements: "a great and unsettling book", "in the tradition of Rousseau, Burke, Paine and Russell" , "unflinching", "very remarkable", "no party line"

Democratic politicians, terrorists, clerics and commentators have had their say, proved things by uttering single words. For concentration on committed logic, you need a philosopher. Here is one at work, in clear conversation with a reader who is asked for as much independence, judgement, realism and humanity.
Ted Honderich may now be Britain's most powerful and productive living philosopher. His writings for other analytic philosophers and the rest of us are at the leading edge of thinking about the nature of consciousness as well as determinism and responsibility. 6 books have been republished in the last 3 years.

This new books thinks with its readers about the question that comes before all others about terrorism, its causes, the war in Iraq, and what is to come. That is the question about which the world actually disagrees, the bottom-line question of right and wrong. The book makes its way to judgements on what others merely declare to be be necessary or unacceptable.

It is a book that begins from the Principle of Humanity, that we must take rational steps, not engage in pretences, to get and keep people out of bad lives, lives deprived of fundamental human goods, frustrated in the great desires of human nature. It does not pretend that morality consists in anything other than attitudes. It also knows attitudes can be argued for, rest on fact and consistency. This is a book of moral philosophy that will last. Partly because of that, it is a book for right now.

Ted Honderich defends a Zionism, the sacred existence of Israel in its original borders. He also reasserts the moral right of the Palestinians to their terrorism against ethnic cleansing by neo-Zionism, the violation of the remainder of Palestine. Both commitments are taken further than in previous writings.

The terrorist attack of 9-11 is condemned by the argument of the Principle of Humanity that it can only be the end and the means that justifies the means. The arguments for the Iraq war, a terrorist war, are subjected to paralysing analysis. As for such terrorist attacks as that of 7-7 in London, their true enemies have not been Blair and Bush, who are in effect their friends. There is no other book like this.

For more information or a review copy of the edition outside of the USA: Sarah Worsfold,  020 7922 0909,

Published in the United States by Seven Stories Press, under the title
Right and Wrong, and Palestine, 9/11, Iraq, 7/7...

You can go to a review by Tam Dalyell, who has been a British M.P. and Father of the House of Commons, and a review by Steven Poole, author of Unthink.

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