21 december 2012

Just Think- Sam Harris part 2 of 2


Beautifully written as they were (the elegance of his prose is a distilled blend of honesty and clarity) there was little in Sam Harris's previous books that couldn't have been written by any of his fellow 'horsemen' of the 'new atheism'. This book is different, though every bit as readable as the other two. I was one of those who had unthinkingly bought into the hectoring myth that science can say nothing about morals. To my surprise, The Moral Landscape has changed all that for me. It should change it for philosophers too. Philosophers of mind have already discovered that they can't duck the study of neuroscience, and the best of them have raised their game as a result. Sam Harris shows that the same should be true of moral philosophers, and it will turn their world exhilaratingly upside down. As for religion, and the preposterous idea that we need God to be good, nobody wields a sharper bayonet than Sam Harris.

— Richard Dawkins, author of The Selfish Gene, The God Delusion, and The Greatest Show On Earth

First we are told that we are lumbering robots with selfish genes at the helm. And now we are told that biology determines our values, not only what is good for us, but what ought to be good for us. Isn't there anything sacred?! No, and thank goodness. A hallelujah to Sam Harris for boldly going where few have dared go. The Moral Landscape is both a celebration of why clarity of reason is our most glorious weapon, and why even age old debates that have gone into hibernation ought to be awakened and challenged.

— Marc Hauser, Harvard College Professor, author of Moral Minds.

Reading Sam Harris is like drinking water from a cool stream on a hot day. He has the rare ability to frame arguments that are not only stimulating, they are downright nourishing, even if you don't always agree with him! In this new book he argues from a philosophical and a neurobiological perspective that science can and should determine morality. His discussions will provoke secular liberals and religious conservatives alike, who jointly argue from different perspectives that there always will be an unbridgeable chasm between merely knowing what is and discerning what should be. As was the case with Harris' previous books, readers are bound to come away with previously firm convictions about the world challenged, and a vital new awareness about the nature and value of science and reason in our lives.

— Lawrence M. Krauss, Foundation Professor and Director of the ASU Origins Project at Arizona State University. author of The Physics of Star Trek and Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science.