Literature/2010/Harris

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Harris, Sam (2010). The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values. Free Press. (Oct. 5, 2010) ISBN 978-1-4391-7121-9

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w: The Moral Landscape
#Synopsis

The idea is that a person is simply describing material facts (many about their brain) when they describe possible "better" and "worse" lives for themselves. Granting this, Harris says we must conclude that there are facts about which courses of action will allow one to pursue a better life.

Harris attests to the importance of admitting that such facts exist, because he says this logic applies to groups of individuals as well. He suggests that there are better and worse ways for whole societies to pursue better lives. Just like at the scale of the individual, there may be multiple different paths and "peaks" to flourishing for societies - and many more ways to fail.

Harris then makes a pragmatic case that science could usefully define "morality" according to such facts (about people's wellbeing). Often his arguments point out the way that problems with this scientific definition of morality seem to be problems shared by all science, or reason and words in general. [c 1]

w: Science of morality
w: Utilitarianism

See also[edit]

Comments[edit]

  1. Harris's argument sounds fair enough, granted that both the citizens and the society, especially in terms of politics, are responsible for human well-being and happiness, and that ethics, domestics, economics, politics, and the like are a science, especially for society. From the utopian or utilitarian perspective, HG Wells proposed an "open conspiracy" for the evolution of new encyclopedism, namely, World Brain (1938) to enable the world citizens to make best use of science ultimately for the world peace. Along the similar line of thought, JD Bernal positively argued for The Social Function of Science (1939), for "science of science" especially "for society." Perhaps the first step to this end may be a scientific approach to the evaluation of open vs. closed, uninterested vs. invested-interested, conspiracy in science. --  KYPark [T] 18:26, 15 May 2011 (UTC)

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Gradient-optical-illusion.svg
The shade of the bar looks invariant in isolation but variant in context, in (favor of) sharp contrast with the color gradient background, hence an innate illusion we have to reasonably interpret and overcome as well as the mirage. Such variance appearing seasonably from context to context may not only be the case with our vision but worldview in general in practice indeed, whether a priori or a posteriori. Perhaps no worldview from nowhere, without any point of view or prejudice at all!

Ogden & Richards (1923) said, "All experience ... is either enjoyed or interpreted ... or both, and very little of it escapes some degree of interpretation."

H. G. Wells (1938) said, "The human individual is born now to live in a society for which his fundamental instincts are altogether inadequate."