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The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values | [Sam Harris]

The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values

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".
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Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

“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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (1173 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Zac 04-18-15
    Zac 04-18-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    Story
    "I liked it"

    hard to understand, I felt that he could have dumbed it didn't a little. overall good insight

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pen Name 04-12-15
    Pen Name 04-12-15 Member Since 2014
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    2
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    "Insightful"

    The author covered a wide range of angles to provide a thorough understanding of the topic. Great audio book.

    VZ

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer indiana 04-06-15
    Amazon Customer indiana 04-06-15 Member Since 2015

    sugar junkie

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    12
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    "I couldn't get through it."
    What would have made The Moral Landscape better?

    A more interesting reader.


    What was most disappointing about Sam Harris’s story?

    I don't know. I couldn't get through the audio.


    What didn’t you like about Sam Harris’s performance?

    No emotion or interest in the reading that it bored me to tears. I couldn't stay focused on it. I tried 3 times to listen to it and just couldn't get through it.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    boredom


    Any additional comments?

    I'm sure the material in it is something I would have been interested in but the reading of it was anything but interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dustin 04-02-15
    Dustin 04-02-15 Member Since 2014

    Books on tape are awesome! Audible sometimes sucks because it won't let you purchase Audiobooks after you already ordered them!

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    "Excellent"

    Sam once again takes us through the logical progressions of a difficult topic. He cuts through the fallacies and fairytales that often hijack our thought process. I would recommend this book to anyone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Daniel East Texas 03-28-15
    R. Daniel East Texas 03-28-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Life changing."

    This book made me an instant Sam Harris fan. Harris speaks calmly while cutting into the meat of some heavy ideas. Brilliant.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DaveTraveler 03-25-15 Member Since 2011
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    "Fantastic and Fearless Exploration of Morality!"

    As usual, Sam Harris does not pull any punches and analyzes thoroughly the current state of thinking and science (mainly experimental psychology and neuroscience) as they relate to morality, well-being and the concepts of right and wrong.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrea Vocale 03-22-15
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    "Amazing!"

    Inspiring read: thoroughly enjoyable , with the depth of a philosophical treatise. A book to read many times over.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Troy Chambers 03-02-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Excellent examination of morality, consciousness "

    & science. I've never read any book before that breaks down the basics of what humans have been questioning for centuries

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph 02-11-15
    Joseph 02-11-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Very thorough and thought provoking"

    Good. Was great to have the book voiced by Sam Harris m m m m m

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pat LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA, United States 01-09-15
    Pat LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA, United States 01-09-15 Member Since 2012
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    "For whoever wants the FACTUAL TRUTHK"

    Will have to listen a third time to be sure I grasped all of the intended meaning. What I did understand seemed absolute factual and truthful. I'm a high IQ grandma that just wants a safe world for my grandchildren, no different than any other grandmother of any race creed or country. The highest goal for any one should be the truth.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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