The Moral Landscape: A First Look

I just started reading The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values by Sam Harris for my local book club. I'm not very far into it. So far I'm just getting an idea of where he's coming from and what he proposes to convince me of as I read along.

Before I started reading, I listened to Professor Massimo Pigliucci and Julia Galef talk about the book on their podcast, Rationally Speaking episode 20, from 18:29 to 27:30. Both of them find fault in Sam Harris’ logic and principles.

Massimo also wrote a blog post back in April titled, About Sam Harris’ claim that science can answer moral questions. This article is based on the TED Talk that Harris gave back in February.

Massimo is a former scientist and is now a philosopher, so he is well equipped to address this subject.

I thought I'd share it and ask you, have you read the book? What do you think? Can science answer moral questions?


  1. I did read the book, and my good friend arranged for Sam to speak at UCSD just last month. You can watch the entire presentation here:

    I think that Sam has made a good case for developing a science of morality. Philosophers are bound to find many things wrong with Sam's approach, but that is because he is not trying to develop a moral philosophy but rather is looking for ways in which science can inform some of the most important questions of our lives. That, to me, is a worthy project.

  2. Thanks very much, James. That makes a lot of sense. I think so far I agree with you. The book makes a lot of sense to me. A science of morality makes sense.
    I'll have to watch that video. Thanks for the link.