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 nonbelieving 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 most common justification for religious faith. It is also the primary reason why so many secularists and religious moderates feel obligated to "respect" the hardened superstitions of their more devout neighbors.
In this explosive new book, Sam Harris tears down the wall between scientific facts and human values, arguing that most people are simply mistaken about the relationship between morality and the rest of human knowledge. Harris urges us to think about morality in terms of human and animal well-being, viewing the experiences of conscious creatures as peaks and valleys on a "moral landscape". Because there are definite facts to be known about where we fall on this landscape, Harris foresees a time when science will no longer limit itself to merely describing what people do in the name of "morality"; in principle, science should be able to tell us what we ought to do to live the best lives possible.
Bringing a fresh perspective to age-old questions of right and wrong and good and evil, Harris demonstrates that we already know enough about the human brain and its relationship to events in the world to say that there are right and wrong answers to the most pressing questions of human life. Because such answers exist, moral relativism is simply false—and comes at 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.
©2010 Sam Harris (P)2010 Simon & Schuster, Inc.
“Sam Harris breathes intellectual fire into an ancient debate. Reading this thrilling, audacious book, you feel the ground shifting beneath your feet. Reason has never had a more passionate advocate.” (Ian McEwan)
“A lively, provocative, and timely new look at one of the deepest problems in the world of ideas. Harris makes a powerful case for a morality that is based on human flourishing and thoroughly enmeshed with science and rationality. It is a tremendously appealing vision, and one that no thinking person can afford to ignore.” (Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of How the Mind Works and The Blank Slate)
Harris' thesis is not intuitive, and I don't think he did his own thesis justice in this work. I had to really think about it and debate it with friends to fully grasp it myself. And I've come to agree. You merely have to take the step of saying "morality has to do with human well-being" and then his thesis is well reasoned from there.
This is a very interesting book on morality. It is satisfyingly clear, honest and realistic. Sam Harris has successfully changed my mind multiple times in his books and lectures.
Fan of Sam Harris. Find the subject matter worthy of discussion.
About the same. Conversational style is easy to listen to.
Currently going to school for theology and philosophy so most of the books I read are on those subjects.
sam Harris is a good author and he's really great at writing books but not everyone is a scientist or a neuroscientist so sometimes following along with some of the medical terms that he gives it's kind of hard
Very thought provoking and at times mind blowing. He gets a little off tangent at times with his anti religious stuff for a bit if that bothers you but it is a great book and a must read.
I loved listening to Sam Harris read his own book, I though it brought a lot of personal integrity to the words. It was brief for my taste, but I think that's only due to loving the book and craving more of it.
I am an Australian woman who enjoys reading many different styles of books, from history to sci fi and mystery to poetry.
OK first off, I really am an atheist and loved Christopher Hitchens and have booked in to see Sam Harris speak live. I now approach his lecture tour with trepidation. This book has so many problems. I think Mr. Harris wrote it thinking to right the wrong done his opinions at a scientific conference he alluded to in the first chapters. It has a lot of "filler" based on some very strange statistics, his opinion only and misguided, ill-informed science. He cites propagation of genes as a reason for rape, he calls into question some very basic medical science and intimates that a woman with one child who dies would grieve more than the mother with two children would grieve, if one passed away. These are just some of the problems, then he goes off track so many times filling in with things like a diatribe about psychopathy and the like. I am so disappointed.
Report Inappropriate Content