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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]
- Literature/2006/Harris [^]
- Literature/2004/Harris [^]
- Literature/2004/Putnam [^]
- Wells, H. G. (1938). World Brain. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran & Co. [^]
- 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)