The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values

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Simon and Schuster, Sep 13, 2011 - Religion - 307 pages
18 Reviews
Sam Harris’s first book, The End of Faith, ignited a worldwide debate about the validity of religion. In the aftermath, Harris discovered that most people—from religious fundamentalists to non-believing scientists—agree on one point: science has nothing to say on the subject of human values. Indeed, our failure to address questions of meaning and morality through science has now become the primary justification for religious faith.

In this highly controversial book, Sam Harris seeks to link morality to the rest of human knowledge. Defining morality in terms of human and animal well-being, Harris argues that science can do more than tell how we are; it can, in principle, tell us how we ought to be. In his view, moral relativism is simply false—and comes at an increasing cost to humanity. And the intrusions of religion into the sphere of human values can be finally repelled: for just as there is no such thing as Christian physics or Muslim algebra, there can be no Christian or Muslim morality. Using his expertise in philosophy and neuroscience, along with his experience on the front lines of our “culture wars,” Harris delivers a game-changing book about the future of science and about the real basis of human cooperation.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Michael_Rose - LibraryThing

A noble attempt, but a futile one if trying to convince the opposition, I imagine. Would you like to get a perspective on morality without deferring entirely to philosophy or authority? You might want to read this then. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - heradas - LibraryThing

Terrific. The main concept is that although moral questions are often very difficult to answer, and there are usually many satisfactory answers to each one, we can use the principles of science to eliminate the obviously bad answers to those questions. Read full review

Contents

Introduction The Moral Landscape
1
Moral Truth
27
Good and Evil
55
Belief
113
Religion
145
The Future of Happiness
177
Afterword
193
Acknowledgments
209
Notes
211
References
255
Index
297
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About the author (2011)

Sam Harris is the author of the bestselling books The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian NationThe Moral LandscapeFree Will, and LyingThe End of Faith won the 2005 PEN Award for Nonfiction. His writing has been published in over fifteen languages. Dr. Harris is cofounder and CEO of Project Reason, a nonprofit foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society. He received a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a PhD in neuroscience from UCLA. Please visit his website at SamHarris.org.

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