The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values

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Simon and Schuster, Sep 13, 2011 - Religion - 307 pages
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  - mrgan - LibraryThing

Harris makes a pretty convincing case for the role of science - and, more broadly, rational thought - in deciding moral questions. If this sounds patently obvious, it's not so to many. There are a few tangents in the book, but they still make for good reading. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bartt95 - LibraryThing

A clear, important book that seems to provide all the arguments one needs to battle the moral relativists, clowns, charlatans and ignorant apologists that seem to be spreading like the plague all over ... 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 Nation, The Moral Landscape, Free Will, and Lying. The 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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