I came across an interesting (to me) and civil discussion on Sam Harris’ new book, The Moral Landscape.
Part 1 (41MB), Part 2 (43MB), Part 3 (75MB)
Tags: apologia podcast, sam harris, the moral landscape
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on Monday, January 10th, 2011 at 7:41 am and is filed under Philosophy, Religion, Science.
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Thanks for the links – will check them out!
= 169.50?? (roughly 2 hrs 50 mins??)
I’m through first one, is there a section where they discuss is/ought or fact/value distinctions??
Ahhhh, the younger generation these days! No attention span.
I’m pretty sure the last one covers more of this kind of stuff (and a protege of WLC is involved in the conversation which stops it being so one-sided).
the working generation
ta, might skip to the last one!
The last one is precisely what I was interested in. The stuff about a) the circularity of defining ‘well-being’ and b) Sam’s sneaky use of ‘intuition pumps’ is helpful.
((incidentally, as an only 2nd time listener to Apologia, I always forget whether the person speaking at any given time is an atheist or theist – which I find both helpful and not. ))
[...] listened to an interesting discussion of Sam’s ideas today (thanks to Damian for highlighting it), and at one point they were talking about the hypothetical possibility of [...]
Thanks for the links Damian. They look interesting.
The lengths aren’t a problem for the retired generation – they fit in nicely with my walks actually.
Would have been nice to have a link to the original podcast site.
Quite right Ken, I’ve added the link to their site.
If you’ve not heard any of their stuff before I recommend going to their archives and looking at some of the earlier podcasts. (They cover topics such as the mind/body problem, ethics, natural/supernatural and so on)
Finished them. I agree the discussion was civil. And the participants had read the book – recently. So many of these discussions seem to rely on interpretations of titles.
I was pleased that they acknowledged the confusion over interpretation of what Hume said about is-ought. I personally think he may have been criticising “vulgar religion” which pronounced oughts without providing justification in is’s. But the “you can’t derive an ought from an is” always comes up as a dogmatic mantra.
Some of the discussion seemed to go astray because of the academic and philosophical background. It seems criminal to me that people can debate the intricacies of defining human flourishing in a manner that effectively asks the women being stoned to death to “hold on – we haven’t resolved our definitions yet. We need to do that before we can say stoning is wrong. And would you please stop screaming its interfering with our deliberations!”
I also found a long debate on measurement of well being pointless. I don’t see anyone suggesting converting morality into a science in that manner – where men in white coats measure some enzyme to determine if a person is happy.
However, I think this is the picture that does come to mind when the words science and morality get thrown together. Surely that is why the book and the debates have been given that title – to gain attention via shock.
Still, in the end I think the participants recognised this.
Sam Harris has posted an extensive response to critics of the book over at the Huffington Post for anyone who might be interested.
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