Nikki's Reviews > The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values

The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris
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Feb 09, 2012

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Harris tries to prove with this book that science should be the determining factor when it comes to making moral decisions. He claims that science is the only way we can live a truly moral life. He uses the concept of "well-being" as his ruler for evaluating morality. I found his ideas to be very interesting. His discussion of free will was quite thought-provoking. For most of the book I found him to be fair in his criticism of people of faith as well as people of science (who espouse moral relativism). However, his true color comes out towards the end of the book when discussing religion--he believes that religious people are psychologically disturbed (p. 157 in my edition).

In trying to judge this book based on Harris' own premise, I kept expecting him to show me evidence of HOW science will make these moral decisions for us, but I never saw that. I think he views science as the perfect, flawless solution, but apparently he is unaware of just how many differing views there are AMONG SCIENTISTS! Choose any field (evolution, archaeology, paleontology, even math) and you will be astounded by the number of differing opinions.

I appreciated many of his ideas but I remain unconvinced.
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message 1: by Rachael (new)

Rachael It's funny because I feel like I ought to read this but can't bring myself to do it after having suffered through his other book, End of Faith. Anyway, I like your review and I think you bring up an important point. There is no way for science to make evaluative type judgments, why we ought to value well-being for instance, let alone more complicated moral judgments. I'd reluctantly agree with him that scientific insight can absolutely aid in our quest to fulfill our moral aims, but cannot be used to actually set those aims in the first place.


Nikki Rachael wrote: "It's funny because I feel like I ought to read this but can't bring myself to do it after having suffered through his other book, End of Faith. Anyway, I like your review and I think you bring up a..."

Amen!


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