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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uh oh, wan out of piggies., 22 April 2011
This review is from: The Moral Landscape (Hardcover)
In the 1988 film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?", there is a scene where Eddie Valiant falls from a very high storey of a toon building. He catches himself on a flagpole, clinging on for dear life by the fingers of one hand. As he hangs there, that adorable widdle bird, Tweety Pie walks up and begins to play `This little piggy went to market', prying one of Eddie's fingers from the flagpole with each line of the rhyme. Tweety starts the line, "This little piggy had none" and lifts the last finger. As Eddie falls, Tweety laments, "Uh oh, wan out of piggies".

For some time now, religion has been trying to claim that it alone can shape morality. It may not have been right about history. Or science. Or the future. But it could still show you the way to be good, right? Right?! One last, desperate finger clinging to the flagpole of relevance. And then along came Sam `Tweety Pie' Harris... Ping! Uh oh, wan out of piggies.

Harris's new book, "The Moral Landscape" outlines his contention that morals and ethics can be scientifically determined, that they're naturalistic. If there is a right way to do something and a wrong way, and the results of each way are different and appreciable, then they can be studied scientifically and the best way determined from the results. Through this method we can increase well-being.
Harris uses two methods to back up his case; scientific (using the currently available data) and philosophical (which is independent of current knowledge). He uses both methods well and with clarity. Harris uses clear language and examples to better illustrate his ideas. He doesn't shy away from conceding the limitations of current knowledge, nor from pointing out that certain moral dilemmas are difficult to resolve. While he in no way talks down to the reader, the book is squarely aimed at everyone. You don't need any special knowledge or a PhD to enjoy this book, but you will need to think. "The Moral Landscape" is one of the most thought-provoking books that I've read for some time. It is, to use a Richard Dawkins' term, consciousness-raising. Harris makes a solidly convincing case and I came to the end of the book thinking differently to when I started it. He even answered my long-standing question of whether or not free-will exists. You can't ask for more than that.

"The Moral Landscape" is a superb book that should be read and considered by as many people as possible. Some people won't read it or will dismiss it out of hand because of who the author is. That'll be their loss. Whether or not you end up agreeing with Harris, don't be one of those who miss out.

Oh, and go watch "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?". It'll cheer you up.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 25 Apr 2011 13:51:29 BDT
Pumpkin Head says:
"He even answered my long-standing question of whether or not free-will exists."

Does Paul Davidson know this?!

I've got Sam Harris' other books, so I may just get this one too.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Apr 2011 16:48:49 BDT
This was a class review - funny and pithy.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2011 14:53:36 BDT
"Does Paul Davidson know this?!"

He should by now. :D

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2011 14:54:15 BDT
Ryan, you're too kind.

Posted on 14 Jul 2012 21:30:51 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 Jul 2012 21:32:44 BDT
Neutral says:
"It is, to use a Richard Dawkins' term, consciousness-raising". Actually it isn't Richard Dawkins's term. It was part of the ideology of the feminist movement and partially derived from Marxist-Leninism's attempt to express its ideology in terms of superior knowledge. All it really means is awareness but that wasn't trendy enough for the swinging sixties and its successors.
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