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"The Moral Landscape" by Sam Harris

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There has been a lot of discussion on this forum of the New Atheists and in particular Sam Harris, who has been talking about developing a theory to explain morality in scientific terms and make it objective, not just a thought experiment for philosophers or a tool for religious folk.

I think there are inherent problems with Harris' program. It doesn't make much sense to discard philosophy. And he has to realize when he speaks of "science" explaining morality, he can only mean this after a standard of value has been created. I think his standard has been positive conscious experience of humanity. It seems not much more interesting than anything Mill said so far. I'm going to read the book before I make a final judgement though

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I attended his talk on this subject at GWU last night and have started reading the book. Allow me to answer the objections in this thread by saying that he does attempt to establish the standard of value, philosophically (chapter 1). From there, his goal is to figure out what science has to say about how to best achieve the proper values. He sets out to show why the experience of conscious creatures is the proper standard of value for morality, and thinks that science can then help us maximize the well-being of conscious creatures.

I find his ideas to be a breath of fresh air, despite the fact that I am not in complete agreement. I agree with his general approach, and it is a relief to see a well-known, public intellectual who is willing to engage in this kind of discourse.

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