We call many things sacred, from cows, churches and paintings to flags and burial grounds. Is it still meaningful to talk of things being sacred, or is the idea merely a relic of a bygone religious age? Does everything - and every life - have its price?

Is Nothing Sacred? is a stimulating and wide-ranging debate about some of the major moral dilemmas facing us today, such as the value of human life, art, the environment, and personal freedom.

Packed with clearly presented controversial issues, we are asked to decide whether we should revere life when someone chooses to die, preserve the giant California redwoods, cherish Vermeer's originals for their own sake, or curtail personal freedom for the greater good. Ronald Dworkin argues that the concept of the scared is essential to any human ethics, and Simon Blackburn explains why he thinks 'a humanist should not feel guilty at the emotions of awe and reverence that can be inspired by great religious works of art. Throughout, the idea of the sacred in a secular age is hotly debated amongst the authors and put to the test: should it be abandoned altogether, or does it still have something to teach us?

Is Nothing Sacred? brings together outstanding philosophers and thinkers, including Suzanne Uniacke, Michael Clark, Alan Holland, Simon Blackburn, Richard Dawkins, Richard Norman, Alan Howarth, Nigel Warburton, Matthew Kieran and John Harris.

chapter |6 pages


chapter 1|21 pages

Nature, Science and the Sacred

chapter 2|14 pages

Is Nature Sacred?

chapter 3|9 pages

Is Art Sacred?

chapter 4|8 pages

Art and the Limitations of Experience

chapter 5|22 pages

Is Life Sacred?

chapter 6|12 pages

The Sacred and the Profane

chapter 7|18 pages

Is Liberty Sacred?

chapter 8|8 pages

The Limits of Liberty

chapter 9|9 pages

The Idea of the Sacred

chapter 10|7 pages

Salvaging the Sacred

chapter 11|3 pages

The Sacred and the Scientist

chapter 12|6 pages

The Concept of the Sacred