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Customer Review

5 of 31 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One of the worst books I've ever read, 2 Sept. 2012
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This review is from: The Moral Landscape (Paperback)
There are too many things wrong with this book to being to describe. Harris basically advocates utilitarianism dressed up with verbal diarrhea. As far as I know, there havent been any philosophers who take this book seriously, and for good reason. It's really really bad. I would urge people to view the debate (it is on youtube) between William lane Craig and Sam Harris to see the inadequacy of Sam Harris' ridiculous theories exposed. I have no love for prof craig and his strain of evangelicalism, but he exposes Sam Harris' pseudoscientific nonsense for what it is. I'm sure plenty of other writers have too.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Oct 2012 20:02:39 BDT
J. Mero says:
Ah, the lobotomy was successful by the sound of it!

Posted on 26 Feb 2013 21:05:36 GMT
Last edited by the author on 6 Sep 2014 23:05:19 BDT
Vegplanet says:
Look at the reviews on this forum for the book. Do you believe that only the input of academic philosophers with letters after their name is relevant in a discussion about ethics? If so then your opinion is to be discounted for starters. Your attitude here is manifestly elistist nonsense.

The youtube debate exposed no such thing. Harris refused to stick to the rather rigid terms of the debate and chose to discuss a wider range of theological matters. Lane Craig took him to task for this. Lane Craig failed to cast doubt upon utilitarianism - this is still the only rational source of morality that we have.

Lane Craig spouts nonsense about the sanctity of moral values which supposedly emanate from a superior being. This is not even pseudo-scientific - it is just arbitrary nonsense.

You may be sure that other writers have 'exposed' Sam Harris writings. I am less sure - any actual examples to offer?

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Jan 2014 04:29:50 GMT
Well the book's topic is philosophy so if academic philosophers uniformally find the book laughable there is good grounds to there is some truth to it. If you read a book on biology then you want to know the opinions of other biologists on it. If a physicist writes a book on physics and all other physics professors regard it as thrash it is not really redeemed by a group of fanboys (of the author, not the topic) thinking it's actually great.

'If so then your opinion is to be discounted for starters. '

Well yes, if you have no idea about philosophy whatsoever your opinion will not exactly be valuable other then 'his ideas sound good'. If you had no knowledge whatsoever about world history you could read a book about Hitler winning WW2 and thinking it was a great book on history- so you hold an opinion but it should be discounted as worthless.

As for the debate, the idea of the debate is to present your argument and then defend it, Harris failed to do that but then again how could he when the ideas he proposes do not stand any sort of philosophical scrutiny so he resorted to talk off topic. I agree Craig's ideas are ridiculous but his arguments were sound and not even attacked by Harris anyhow.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Sep 2014 23:17:48 BDT
Last edited by the author on 6 Sep 2014 23:31:43 BDT
Vegplanet says:
The book's topic is ethics and neurology. If other philosophers (whoever these might be) claim the book's aims are laughable, then I would invite them to bring forward an alternative method to determine a robust system of ethics. This would be difficult, as there is no alternative to the utilitarian approach. If you can suggest an alternative to a study of the ramifications of certain behaviours on the well being of sentient creatures, then please bring it forward.
Biology and physics are fields of study, backed up by the scientific method. This is not the case in the more subjective field of philosophy, where it is extremely difficult to falsify points of view. Your comparison about history is pretty useless too.
Lane's main argument seemed to be that ethics should emanate from some supposed 'superior' being. What is sound about this?
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