Tag Archives: Sam Harris

Sam Harris, the fact-value distinction, and the problem with a science of morality

A few years ago, Sam Harris published a book, ‘The Moral Landscape‘, which argued that science could determine moral values.  To say that it received substantial criticism, from scientists, philosophers, and others, would be an understatement. Late last year, Harris issued … Continue reading

Posted in Morality | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Free will and the value of compatibilism

With the essays traded between Daniel Dennett and Sam Harris, free will is back in the web conversation.  I wasn’t planning on making another free will post myself, having been mostly satisfied with my previous statement on it.  But I’ve had … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

The Marionette’s Lament : A Response to Daniel Dennett : : Sam Harris

Dear Dan— I’d like to begin by thanking you for taking the time to review Free Will at such length. Publicly engaging me on this topic is certainly preferable to grumbling in private. Your writing is admirably clear, as always, … Continue reading

Posted in Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 46 Comments

The scope of objective facts and morality

Our recent discussions, particularly on the thread about Jonathan Haidt’s response to Sam Harris’s challenge, left me thinking about the various scopes of objective facts.  In retrospect, it’s a bit obvious to me now that a key question in moral … Continue reading

Posted in Morality, Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Why I think Sam Harris is wrong about morality | The Righteous Mind

Several commenters  have said I should not just critique the excessive certainty of the New Atheists. I should respond directly to Sam Harris’s Moral Landscape Challenge. I should say why I think the argument he makes about a science of … Continue reading

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This View of Life: Why Sam Harris is Unlikely to Change his Mind

The New Atheist Sam Harris recently offered to pay $10,000 to anyone who can disprove his arguments about morality. Jonathan Haidt analyzes the nature of reasoning, and the ease with which reason becomes a servant of the passions. He bets … Continue reading

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Philosophy that ignores science risks impotence

Peter Hankins has a post up reviewing Harold Langsam’s new book, ‘The Wonder of Consciousness‘.  While the book sounds interesting (Hankins describes it as philosophically dense, so I probably won’t read it), something bothered me while reading Hankins’s review. It … Continue reading

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Daniel Dennett on free will

Daniel Dennett has written a long paper on free will, specifically taking on Sam Harris’ book on the subject.  Dennett is a compatiblist and uses arguments similar to the ones I used in describing this position and in the limitations … Continue reading

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Do we all do science?

Massimo Pigluici has a cartoon response up on Rationally Speaking in reply to Sam Harris’ Edge response.  Harris thinks that science is defined too narrowly, is suspicious of talk of the limits of science, and sees the distinction between science, … Continue reading

Posted in Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Free will? Free of what?

The concept of free will is intimately tangled up with the idea of responsibility.  Are you responsible for your actions?  To what degree are your actions predetermined?  If they are predetermined, how can we hold anyone accountable for their actions? … Continue reading

Posted in Mind and AI, Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 58 Comments