We are now taking pre-orders for The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris author of End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation. Although still a few months out from publication (November) it has already caused quite a stir due to Harris’ TED talk which we’ve embedded below.
After the recent spate of books by atheists about the various problems of religion, Harris’ book is the first attempt to look to the next stage of the argument. If not religion then what? If religions don’t provide morality who will? How will we arrive at agreed upon ethical systems without traditional dogmas? Can we find answers to moral questions with the aid of evidence-led reasoning, in other words with science?
To the latter, Harris has answered a firm ‘yes’ . Yes we can find our answers to such questions using science. If he is ultimately proved right in this, the old “is/ought” debate may well be over.
Those of you reading this post may already be well aware of the instant reaction this talk received by many in intellectual circles. We recommend looking at Butterflies and Wheels and Metamagician for their responses, bearing in mind they are responding to a 20 minute talk, not a paper or a book which would contain greater depth.
Whether proved right or wrong in the long run, The Moral Landscape promises to be the biggest intellectual shake up we have seen for quite some time. If this work has the rigour and coherence of his first two books we may well be seeing Harris’ name sitting alongside greats in the history of philosophy and science.