Five Moral Pieces
By Umberto Eco
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780151004461, 128pp.)
Publication Date: November 2001
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Embracing the web of multiculturalism that has become a fact of contemporary life from New York to New Delhi, Eco argues that we are more connected to people of other traditions and customs than ever before, making tolerance the ultimate value in today's world. What good, he asks in a talk delivered during the Gulf War, does war do in a world where the flow of goods, services, and information is unstoppable and the enemy is always behind the lines? What makes news today, who decides how it will be presented, and how does the way it is disseminated contribute to the widespread disillusionment with politics in general?
In the most personal of the essays, Eco recalls experiencing liberation from fascism in Italy as a boy, and examines the various historical forms of fascism, always with an eye toward such ugly manifestations today. And finally, in an intensely personal open letter to an Italian cardinal, Eco reflects on a question underlying all the reflections in the book: What does it mean to be moral or ethical when one doesn't believe in God?
Thoughtful and subtle as well as pragmatic and relevant, these essays present one of the world's most important thinkers at the height of his critical powers.
Umberto Eco is a professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna and the best-selling author of numerous novels and essays. He lives in Italy.
PRAISE FOR UMBERTO ECO
"Instead of that tone of constipated envy we associate with criticism,
Eco's essays read like letters from a friend, trying to share something he loves
with someone he likes."--San Francisco Review of Books
"One of the most influential thinkers of our time."--Los Angeles Times