Hard Atheism and the Ethics of Desire

An Alternative to Morality

  • Joel Marks

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxi
  2. Joel Marks
    Pages 1-43
  3. Joel Marks
    Pages 91-133
  4. Joel Marks
    Pages 135-183
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 185-195

About this book


‘Joel Marks has become known for his uncompromising rejection of morality. In this book he articulates an alternative ethics that serves the traditional function of a guide to life but without resort to objective values. The book is skilfully and clearly written, leaves no argument unanswered, and is full of helpful examples from real life.’ - Richard Garner, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, The Ohio State University, USA, and author of Beyond Morality

This book challenges the widespread assumption that the ethical life and society must be moral in any objective sense. In his previous works, Marks has rejected both the existence of such a morality and the need to maintain verbal, attitudinal, practical, and institutional remnants of belief in it. This book develops these ideas further, with emphasis on constructing a positive alternative. Calling it “desirism”, Marks illustrates what life and the world would be like if we lived in accordance with our rational desires rather than the dictates of any actual or pretend morality, neither overlaying our desires with moral sanction nor attempting to override them with moral strictures. Hard Atheism and the Ethics of Desire also argues that atheism thereby becomes more plausible than the so-called New Atheism that attempts to give up God and yet retain morality.

Joel Marks is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of New Haven and a Bioethics Center Scholar at Yale University, USA. Marks has edited two books on philosophical psychology and authored many articles and books on ethics, most recently Ethics without Morals.


morality normatiivity desirism objectivity subjectivity practical reasoning

Authors and affiliations

  • Joel Marks
    • 1
  1. 1.University of New HavenWest HavenUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-43798-9
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-43799-6
  • Buy this book on publisher's site