Reddit reviews The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values
We found 53 Reddit comments about The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.
We found 53 Reddit comments about The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.
> it's hard to discuss ethics and morality apart from religion
I know what you mean., it is hard to talk about morals without religion. Someone like Sam Harris should write a book about it. It should have a nice and simple title that conveys the subject of the book without hyperbole, something like The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values
I've read the Letter to a Christian Nation and the Moral Landscape. Like the derpy gentleman below said, LTCN is very short and easy to read. I'd recommend starting with that over the Moral Landscape, which is a denser book.
>Actually, we can source our morality beyond subjectivity.
Sam Harris wrote a book about this.
It depends what you mean by "Moral ethics" and what you mean by "opinions". I'd suggest you read Sam Harris's The Moral Landscape for a pretty interesting examination of this topic.
If you think of ethics as rules intended to maximize the well being of sentient creatures, then they hard to measure and quantify, but no, they aren't opinions. Torturing a child to death, while we can't really quantify how bad or wrong it is, is clearly a departure from the maximum well being that could be achieved.
Analogously, we can't really quantify health. We can't say "How healthy" something is, and yet, it isn't an opinion to say that smoking isn't healthy for you, or that a person with a broken limb is less healthy than an Olympian in their prime.
Good books: 'The Moral Landscape' by Sam Harris and 'Sense and Goodness Without God' by Richard Carrier.
> The idea that the mind is in some way non-physical.
The mind is a product and an element of the physical brain. It may not be concretely tangible (i.e., you can't hold a mind), but that does not mean it is not a part of the physical universe. Physics explains the mind quite well, actually. The neurons in our brain are developed in compliance to the laws of physics and biology, the neurochemicals in our brain are physical substances, and the electric currents in our brains that communicate signals between neurons operate in compliance to the laws of physics.
Evolution also provides insight into the development of consciousness. While, sure, humans are the only terrestrial species with advanced enough consciousness to develop religious and philosophical ideas, we know now that many animals have forms of consciousness and proto-consciousness like what we would expect if humans evolved consciousness from simple origins. The mind is perfectly explainable through naturalistic sciences, and our naturalistic model of human consciousness makes predictions that are falsifiable.
I'd suggest reading Steven Pinker's How The Mind Works. Here's a talk he gave on the book. I'd also suggest his The Stuff of Thought, The Language Instinct, and The Blank Slate.
I'd also suggest Sam Harris' The Moral Landscape. While it's main thrust is to show how science can inform morality, it offers some pretty decent layperson explanation of consciousness, and it is written by an accomplished neuroscientist (whatever your opinion on his religious works may be). His pamphlet-esque Free Will also covers some good ground here.
> All able-bodied humans are born with the ability to learn language.
Not at all true. You can be able-bodied and learning disabled. There was a nonverbal autistic student at my middle school years ago who ran track. Trivial point, but still incorrect.
> I would argue humans also have a Spiritual Acquisition Device.
I would argue that this argument is SAD. (pun; sorry.)
You're positing a massively complex hypothetical neurological infrastructure to link human brains to a divine alternate universe or dimension that has never been shown to exist. Not only has this neural uplink never been observed, but it is entirely unnecessary, as neuroscientists and psychologists have a perfectly functional, testable model of consciousness without it. You're adding a new element to that model that is functionally redundant and untestable. Occam's Razor would trim away your entire posited element out of extraneousness and convolution.
>I don't see what all the fuss is about here. The point is almost trivial. Science isn't the only way to get knowledge. Alright, good, we tackled it.
As long as morons like Sam Harris are taken seriously, then we still have work to do.
> If you deny this, then I don't see what "objective" basis for morality you could possibly have. All morality would simply be relative to the observer, and the idea of "evil" would be meaningless.
Have you actually looked into different kinds of non-theistic morality? Shelly Kagan does a great job of demonstrating the basis and validity of atheist morality in this debate with William Lane Craig.
Also, Sam Harris' The Moral Landscape goes into the subject of morality with God very in-depth.
Theistic claims of morality are only "more objective" if you accept a laundry list of extraordinary claims that are not supported by evidence (e.g. the idea of a personal God, divine inspiration of scripture, etc). Many people find humanistic, scientific, reality-based systems of morality to be much more "objective" and valid.
This is the central thesis of Sam Harris' The Moral Landscape. Not exactly that there is an objective morality... but that science and rational inquiry are better tools with which to answer questions about how to maximize human wellbeing. Excellent read.
I loved The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values by Sam Harris.
When George Bush dies some people will celebrate and they will be either right or wrong to do so, I'm not going to debate either side on that but there is a right answer.
Killing is sometimes wrong and sometimes right depending on the situation.
I believe that there are situations too morally ambiguous to ever get to the bottom of, but there is always an answer. I'm not gonna get too deep on philosophy on a fucking wrestling forum (how did I get here again?) but a lot of my views on this issue were influenced by The Moral Landscape. If you haven't read it and these conversations are interesting to you I would recommend it.
Yes... And...? Did you expect someone on the internet to provide you a dissertation? If so, see here and here.
edit: Just BTW, you actually say you agree... "yes society says that, and drugs being bad is pretty much objectively true by most peoples definitions"
Read The Moral Landscape.
Second, read this.
Third, read this.
I wouldn't be writing this sentence if it weren't for the intervention of modern healthcare at several specific moments in my life. Yammer on all you like about the virtues of the noble savage over the horrors of science and civilization... I prefer to have a heartbeat ;)
Only a stunning level of insulated privilege can produce the idea that a life defined by preventable disease, parasites, infant and child mortality, famine, drought, and the ever-present threat of disability, disfigurement, and death is preferable to the luxury of having our basic needs so adequately met that we can afford an afternoon of philosophical discussion on the internet. Or... from a quick glance at your profile, every afternoon.
I fully support the idea of questioning where we should try and evolve our civilization from here, and how to best get there, but not if the only purpose is to shit on the idea of progress altogether and resort instead to vague claims that there is no way to rationalize that some states of existence could be preferable to others. If you really believe that's the case, I'd be very curious to hear your thoughts about the line of argumentation outlined here. Otherwise your contribution here is just run-of-the-mill /r/im14andthisisdeep
You may be interested in reading Sam Harris' The Moral Landscape. He takes the position that scientific inquiry can identify and evaluate moral systems, using human well-being as the metric for measurement.
Many professional philosophers have criticized his work, and there are many others who disagree with him, but you may find the book to be very relevant to your inquiry.
ding ding ding we have a winner!
and this is my entire point!
Religious people love to say that without religion objective morality cannot possibly exist. But this is the opposite of what the word objective means. Objective means:
>(of a person or their judgment) not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.
"historians try to be objective and impartial"
synonyms: impartial, unbiased, unprejudiced, nonpartisan, disinterested, neutral, uninvolved, even-handed, equitable, fair, fair-minded, just, open-minded, dispassionate, detached, neutral .
see that word FACT? that means something that can be seen verified studied analyzed quantified etc etc etc etc
The whim of a supernatural entity can never be " objective". Only observable reality is objective.
You ask if i think people can never be wrong... well of course they can! Given that I believe that no God has ever given moral instructions to humans i see ALL moralities as made by man. Some of them are wrong. Plainly and unequivocally, because they lead to pain and destruction for humans and their society.
here is in my opinion, an excellent book on this subject
which shows how we can arrive toa a truly Objective ( ie -fact based) sense of justice and morality.
Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World
Bullshit Jobs: A Theory
The Moral Landscape
No, they're really not. The goal is subjective, but the method to achieve that goal is not.
If you call those subjective, you'd have to call medicine subjective. The goal of medicine is "good health" which is also subjective, but the methods we use to achieve it are quite clearly objective. Morality when framed this way is no different, except that we're still practically medieval when it comes to our practice of it because for too long people have been calling it subjective when in reality we can and should begin to make a clear objective structure around it.
A book I highly recommend reading on the topic is "The Moral Landscape" by Sam Harris.
Facts and evidence are a better guide than mythology and superstition.
Have a look at this book by Sam Harris where he argues "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."
See Sam Harris
Get yourself a moral compass with some secular moral science. https://www.amazon.com/Moral-Landscape-Science-Determine-Values/dp/143917122X
You'll be happier, I guarantee it.
> you are the one that was saying only sex is a prostitution act- wrong
You posted the definition yourself, you simpering half-wit.
> you are the one that was saying a striper can masturbate on stage
Bullshit. I said strippers aren't prostitutes, and yes, that includes even if they masturbate on stage (which wouldn't be legal for other reasons). Again, you posted the legal definition yourself. There's a perfectly legal industry of girls that masturbate online for money. If they aren't touching you, it's not prostitution, by the legal definition, which is why these women are not prosecuted. This isn't hard, you're just slow.
> wrong you are the one that was saying its ok to fuck a dog.
I specifically said that there's nothing morally wrong with something where nobody is being harmed. That's a conclusion of rational morality. That we find something gross doesn't make it morally wrong.
> can there be a sadder cliche than a old divorcee
*rofl* I have to assume your parents are divorced, because you keep using the word "divorce" as an insult (clearly oblivious to what this reveals about you). I'm not divorced, nor would I be ashamed if I was, but I promise you there is something vastly more pathetic: someone who creates a second user account to respond to his own posts, as you did.
I personally liked Sam Harris' book.
The Moral Landscape.
It deals more with morality rather than philosophy in general but yes I agree with you, philosophy won't be something that is simply going to just die.
> In my opinion it should be the goal of society not to discover objective moral truths, but to create the best possible framework upon which a moral system can be established.
This is where everything about this view breaks down. By what basis can you possibly call one framework better than another if there is no objective better and worse to begin with? It makes no sense.
If good is to mean anything, than it means an increase in the well-being of humans, or even more broadly to all conscious creatures. And there are near infinite ways to improve overall well-being, and near infinite ways to make it worse, and it's up to us with our limited understanding and instrumentation to try to make the most sense of it-- but to a much more scientifically advanced civilization wellbeing would be as quantifiable as apples in a barrel.
A book called The Moral Landscape builds an even stronger case against moral relativism. If you haven't read it, it's well worth picking up and if you have I'd be genuinely curious to hear how you can square that circle and keep your perspective.
Its not anger (unless I am the victim or a family/friend of the victim of one of these heinous crimes). Im merely discussing the death penalty with you. But you cant seem to detach yourself from personal attacks
How is something that is created by humans any less legitimate than something natural? Murder is natural. Shall we embrace murder and shun justice systems because they are man made?
There is a case for objective morality too. I suggest this book. The author is quite famous and has a PhD in cognitive neuroscience from UCLA.
> 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 falseâand 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 âculture wars,â Harris delivers a game-changing book about the future of science and about the real basis of human cooperation.
Morality and ethics have existed long before religion. Human interaction and being benevolent towards ones fellow tribe are how we survived in the first place. Morality is derived from evolution and human fulfillment can be measured within the brain. Therefore we can make claims that there are universal truths about actions that lead to more fulfillment or to more suffering.
> How would you use science to learn anything about morality?
Here's two books, written roughly a century apart, that elaborate on how science can and why it should be used as the main approach to tackle moral issues :
While Stoddard and Harris may disagree on the implications of this position due to living in different time periods with a different scientific consensus, their overall concept of how science should inform morality (rather than eg. religious or ideological dogma) is fundamentally the same.
For an introduction into Harris's perspective, see also this TED talk.
> Science is best viewed as a subset of philosophy, dealing with the limited context of things as they are , rather than the far more expansive and interesting things as they might be.
Science is the only reliable tool to determining the consequences of actions.
I don't see any added value for philosophy or religion whatsoever, really.
In my experience, all they add is blurriness & prejudice rather than clarity & reason.
I mean... what you claimed is analogous to:
> Please go ahead and link me to the literature claiming that objective morality exists.
Have you heard of Kant? The vast majority of moral philosophy since Kant is positivist. Consequentialism, utilitarianism, realism, cognitivism, humanism, etc.
> I refer you back to my last comment. An individual can believe that something is moral but not be obligated by it. I am certain that you are not obligated to do every single thing that you believe to be moral.
Then you aren’t a moral agent right? And if you are a moral agent, then to be a rational actor you’d have to act rationally. To be a rational actor, are you obligated to act rationally?
PS do you want me to write a summary of why moral realism is so prevalent so you don’t have to read them all? It’s super straightforward logically.
The first two are trivial but the last one is not, and I don't suggest you try and deploy evolution as the principle defense of your morality, as that approach tends to be insufficiently rigorous (although it's true that morality evolved, that doesn't mean any particular action is 'good', for instance), especially if you aren't well read on the subject. This approach can be unpersuasive, and if you end up in a debate with someone well versed in moral moral philosophy, you might find yourself very quickly disarmed.
Instead, here is a book I highly, highly recommend.
You must have heard of Sam Harris by now, but if you haven't, check him out online. There are several of his debates and talks (moral landscape, free will, comparative religion, link between belief and behavior, spirituality) up and I think you'll find it interestingly difficult to disagree with him.
Science can also be used to understand our moral compass.
Recommended book: The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values
>“Up until early 20th century philosophers had material contributions to make to the physical sciences. Pretty much after quantum mechanics, remember the philosopher is the would be scientist but without a laboratory, right? And so what happens is, the 1920s come in, we learn about the expanding universe in the same decade as we learn about quantum physics, each of which falls so far out of what you can deduce from your armchair that the whole community of philosophers that previously had added materially to the thinking of the physical scientists was rendered essentially obsolete, and that point, and I have yet to see a contribution — this will get me in trouble with all manner of philosophers — but call me later and correct me if you think I’ve missed somebody here. But, philosophy has basically parted ways from the frontier of the physical sciences, when there was a day when they were one and the same. Isaac Newton was a natural philosopher, the word physicist didn’t even exist in any important way back then. So, I’m disappointed because there is a lot of brainpower there, that might have otherwise contributed mightily, but today simply does not. It’s not that there can’t be other philosophical subjects, there is religious philosophy, and ethical philosophy, and political philosophy, plenty of stuff for the philosophers to do, but the frontier of the physical sciences does not appear to be among them.”
Harris: "The Moral Landscape: How Science Determines Moral Values".
Dawkins: Tweet here.
What on Earth are you talking about? This isn't about being stoned (which I don't do anyway). It's about being well educated about evolutionary biology and pointing out that your assertion that humans will be like this forever is inaccurate.
What is so difficult to grasp about that simple point?
Further, as I've also pointed out multiple times, understanding the neurobiological reality of the human mind right now has important implications for how we treat our fellow human beings right now in relation to society, the justice system, etc.
That is very real and very much right now.
I'm not sure how to make myself any more clear.
If you're not smart enough and/or educated enough to grasp modern neurobiology and neuropsychology, on top of my explanations that should be explaining clearly enough the ramifications of those modern day objective realities... that's your shortcoming my friend, not mine.
I can suggest a couple books to help you get a better grasp on this subject... two very approachable and enlightening books I can recommend are "The Moral Landscape - How Science can determine human values" by Sam Harris (a doctorate of cognitive neuroscience) and "Braintrust - What neuroscience tells us about morality" by Patricia Churchland
Is there some other way I can get you to grasp that these are contemporary issues of objective scientific understanding of our own minds right now and how they function right now and how that relates to what we believe, how we relate to each other, how our societies function etc right now?
I understand that you feel the chronospecies issue doesn't have any real bearing on issues right now. I've agreed with you on that in every comment I've written. But that doesn't change the validity of everything else I've said, and for some reason you just seem postively obtuse on that point.
I'm seriously not trying to fight with you, so I'm not sure what has you so upset and so stubbornly resistant to grasping the simple objective realities I'm pointing out, which include some that are very much relevant to right now in our modern society.
You should really give this book a read:
/u/Jayk is correct here because of this. Sam Harris tried to address this problem in "The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values", but he didn't really overcome the problem. Others have tried as well, but it still comes back to science being unable to actually determining anything other than how to achieve a goal, rather than opposed to which goals to achieve in the first place.
Idk about all that god talk, though...
I did not say that.
You imply that secular humanism (relativism in your words) is the cause of evil in the world. Yet people are oppressing and killing in the name of their absolute morality. It seems we've had this dominant "absolute mortality" for a while and I don't think it has had a good track record.
If you want a groundwork for secular objective morality maybe you should read The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris. And you should also look up the Euthyphro Dilemma.
also read his book
The Moral Landscape
Sam Harris wrote a whole book on the subject of secular morality.
I would read Sam Harris' book The Moral Landscape or watch Matt Dillahunty's lecture The Superiority of Secular Morality.
Their stuff sums up pretty well where I stand. Basically, I am a moral objectivist.
Read The Moral Landscape and it will answer that for you.
If you get the chance, read "The Moral Landscape" by Sam Harris, talks about science and morals
It all depends on the goal. If OP wants to send a message, then choosing The God Delusion or God Is Not Great would certainly send that message. If OP wants a book that's a good read, both are still good choices, but now there're other books that are equally good choices.
The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality, The Portable Atheist, On Bullshit, On Truth, The Good Book: A Humanist Bible, The Moral Landscape, The Demon Haunted World, Religion and Science, and many others are excellent reads, but don't send that little (possibly unnecessary) jab.
Neurology disproves the western notions of the self, so there isnt any object to even HAVE liberty/freedom. Something wholly fictional isnt a useful first principle.
I believe you may be interested in Sam Harris' The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values. There is a brief Q&A if you scroll down.
His first principle is the well being of sentient beings. The methodology is science. Right up your alley.
Read The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris
Watch The Superiority of Secular Morality by Matt Dillahunty.
Ah man, good luck. Let me see if I can add anything... probably already been said.
Basically, like all teenagers, you're just in a holding pattern until he gets into his mid 20s and becomes the man he probably would have regardless of belief structure. Give him structure, maybe stop spying on him, let him know you're there to help him and that you love him even if he's going to hell.
If he's a reader:
If you guys dig that kind of stuff, you must read Sam Harris. His books changed my entire worldview -- especially The Moral Landscape. Awesome book.
O wow, if you have seriously never heard of anyone who has made the case please go read http://www.amazon.com/The-Moral-Landscape-Science-Determine/dp/143917122X
There are others who have the made the case for objective morals as well.
Edit: Assuming you probably won't read them maybe you'll listen
Sam Harris is an odd bird, but I like him a lot. I may disagree with him in some ways, but that's okay.
First off, let me say I'm not ready to throw free will off the bus, myself. But I can see where Harris is coming from.
He's a neuroscientist who lived as a buddhist monk for a number of years, and actually believed the stuff (buddhism), but then lost faith and quit. If you're familiar with that doctrine, you can see echoes of it sprinkled everywhere in Harris' works. In some ways, his ideas are "buddhism for the materialist neurophilosopher". Of course he rejects free will. Both of his backgrounds do (kinda).
Buddhism is the only religion that does not believe in the existence of the soul, and states that everything that happens now is the result of a complex tapestry of cause-effect relations with roots in the past. It's as close to determinism as you can get, without actually using that label.
Modern neurophilosophy also tends, by and large, to reject consciousness and free will in the traditional sense; see Dan Dennett, etc. for state of the art ideas in the field.
So in that sense Sam Harris is not that original. Where he really stands out is his claim that moral values can be placed on a sort of scale that is both objective and absolute. In other words, there are unambiguous ways to determine whether women wearing burqa is a "good" thing or "bad", etc.
This causes unending uproars in the liberal academia (N.B.: I'm a euro centrist, but in the US I am labeled "leftist", lol) who, by and large, prefer to not label cultural conventions as either good or bad - or rather, if something is culturally determined, they tend to say that makes it automatically okay. Personally, I think that sort of relativism is bullshit.
You could say Sam Harris is a moral anti-relativist, possibly the most prominent one of this age. His book The Moral Landscape is relevant to this topic.
> so there is only one universal human moral system, the one you hold?
There's only one physics, only one math, only one morality. If you want my view on things, I'm in the Sam Harris school, see http://www.amazon.com/The-Moral-Landscape-Science-Determine/dp/143917122X
> this is not what rational egoism is
I didn't see a definition on the front page of your link, but Wikipedia defines it as:
"Rational egoism (also called rational selfishness) is the principle that an action is rational if and only if it maximizes one's self-interest"
In other words, a selfish concern for ones own well-being (self-interest).
> how would it remotely effect my well being at all?
It would affect your access to sex and relationships, because generally people don't want to fuck or marry bigots.
> so there is only one universal human moral system, the one you hold?
Basically, it only makes sense to talk about morality in a universe that has conscious creatures, that are capable of happiness and/or suffering. It wouldn't make sense to talk about morality in a universe devoid of conscious creatures. Therefore, morality pertains to the well-being of conscious creatures.
sitting around and debating the topic is exactly what I have a problem with. I am in no way qualified to answers these questions, and never claimed to be. I only pointed out that the philosophers aren't qualified either. Since this is /r/trueatheism, can I recommend a few books on the topic? Science of Good and Evil or The Moral Landscape are both good reads, and I think they have advanced the study of Ethics by leaps and bounds.
>How can science answer questions about morality?