The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values Reprint Edition, Kindle Edition
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- Length: 322 pages
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--Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of How the Mind Works and The Blank Slate.
About the Author
- ASIN : B003V1WT72
- Publisher : Free Press; Reprint edition (October 5, 2010)
- Publication date : October 5, 2010
- Language : English
- File size : 840 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 322 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #238,394 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
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Top reviews from the United States
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There seems to be enough slack in the world of scientific research, given the history of scientific “truth”, to concede that there is some value in religion; particularly, the fundamental principles that have survived the test of time. In other words, yes, religion has failed in many times, but so has science; there is plenty to be learned from past mistakes, secular or religious, and no need to completely ostracize any one group. Quite the opposite, if collaboration is the most important thing humans should pursue, as Sam Harris points out, then why downgrade the contribution and utility, maybe even wisdom, of some religious teachings?
Anyhow, one cannot throw out the baby with the dirty bath water, and there’s much to be gained from Sam’s portrayal of values, the imagery of a moral landscape, and the tools he’s posited in his writing.
I highly recommend this book.
Anyway, this is a light read; sort of Gladwell-esque in that it's for the average Joe, not student of moral philosophy (although they should read it anyway as it does bring up some pretty interesting points).
All in all, Harris is pretty much rehashing old stuff, saying very little new, and acting like he's giving us the answers to pressing moral questions when in reality he just says "in the future we can / be able to…" a lot.
Top reviews from other countries
Along the way he makes a number of interesting points and observations; he's clearly striving to be perfectly rational and unbiased, & comes across (as he does on his fine podcast) as a morally upstanding guy with a sensible approach. I gather most of his writing is attacks on people who aren't even trying to be rational, so I hope he keeps it up and attracts a good readership in general.
I ought also (though you may question from where does this "ought" come ??) to say a little about his moral system. The better world with more and higher peaks on the moral landscape (not nieve, utopian world of perfect morality, just the best we can do) is not uncontroversial. Nothing is said - though I'll concede I didn't force myself to read every page so perhaps I've just missed this - on the clash between intrinsically immoral and consequentially immoral. He comes out on the latter side but I'm not sure if he was trying to leave some scope for both - or if he'd just not thought about it. Or mqaybe he just doesn't think there's any grounds for non-consequentialist ethics.
For the general reader it's alright, could be better structured, I certainly didn't find it arduous reading but not everybody would find it light reading, partly because it is a little frenetic in it's lay-out. Though there's subdivisions and section headings and chapters, just the points are a bit all over the place. It's certainly not some mad steam of consciousness. Just a little fragmentary.
Apologies for any typos & muspellungs, writing this on the Kindle