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The Moral Landscape Paperback – 12 Apr 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan (12 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552776386
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552776387
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 20,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"I was one of those who had unthinkingly bought into the hectoring myth that science can say nothing about morals. To my surprise, The Moral Landscape has changed all that for me... As for religion, and the preposterous idea that we need God to be good, nobody wields a sharper bayonet than Sam Harris" (Richard Dawkins)

"Sam Harris breathes intellectual fire into an ancient debate. Reading this thrilling, audacious book, you feel the ground shifting beneath your feet. Reason has never had a more passionate advocate" (Ian McEwan)

"A tremendously appealing vision, and one that no thinking person can afford to ignore" (Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology)

"Readers are bound to come away with previously firm convictions about the world challenged, and a vital new awareness about the nature and value of science and reason in our lives" (Lawrence M. Krauss, Professor at Arizona State University)

"This is an inspiring book" (John Lloyd The Financial Times)

Book Description

An explosive book that calls for an end to religion's monopoly on morality, by the bestselling author of The Enf of Faith.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Brilliant!
I am doing an Msc in neuroscience and was recommended this book and was told it would be an interesting read for someone of my outlook on things. It certainly was. I can't recommend it enough to anyone with an interest in science.

As far as I can tell the message of this books is simple. Unless i'm wrong and i might be, see what you think.

1.Good and bad can not exist in a universe without consciousness. Simple enough.

2.If words like right and wrong or good and bad have any useful meaning they must represent increases in human happiness and well-being and decrease in human happiness and well-being respectively. People will disagree with this premise but I can't think of any definition for the words which doesn't lead to this conclusion, without being so vague as to make the words practically meaningless or a kind of theistic circular tautology where good is what god decides is good because god decides what's good because god decides what's good.

*Some may argue that if a psychopath gets their happiness increased by doing something to make another unhappy or subvert another's well-being then that has proved the above can't be the case. My issue with this is it disregards the effects to others. The pyschopath has decreased happiness and well-being of another. Similarly If someone helps another person and increases another's happiness and well-being but in the process has their own happiness and well-being diminished then that would almost certainly be called a good act. The increased happiness/well-being of the other would counter all but the most extreme negative effects to the helper. So surely the same is true for the negative effects felt by another after a psychopaths act.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is no more important debate. How do we decide what is right and wrong?

Most of the answers we hear are worthless (ranging from "just do it because my holy book says so" to the moral relativists who wont even condemn female genital mutilation).

Sam Harris makes the case for a sane alternative...

Morality is an evolved human attribute. It is universal - everyone with a normal brain has it. We all know instinctively what is good (love, kindness, compassion...) and what is evil (hatred, cruelty, violence...).

Understanding this basis for morality has a priceless reward - we can expect to arrive at a consensus. There is an objective morality because we are all human. And we can discover the details by studying the human mind. Evolutionary psychology - not a religious text - is the route to enlightenment.

If our civilisation survives this century it will be because we have learnt how to judge moral issues. This book is an excellent primer. Please read it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author makes an interesting argument. Science obviously has lots to say and reveal about morality - the problem is that we have not been allowed or willing to listen, or we didn't have the tools to find and then answer the questions.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It wasn't about bashing religion, rather it was about science and its role in revealing human morality and values. The approach was refreshing and while it was not a long or difficult read, it still made me think and reflect.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to explore the topic of morality and how it has and is developing in our societies.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love how Sam Harris explains that some philosophical theories just increase "the total amount of boredom" in the world. If you want to read something about ethics that is applicable to the real world, and not boring at all, this book a good option. I agree with the importance he gives to increasing human well-being, and he can write about difficult subjects without making it boring or confusing. I strongly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover
Very easy to read and clearly written, without any of the abrasivenss that come sometimes be found in books in this area.

It is important that humanity aspires to achieve higher levels of morality, and that we don't leave this field as the exclusive preserve of religion. It is becoming clearer over time that religions of all types are trying to drag humanity down to a state of gross immmorality.

Harris encourages us to work out those moral issues in a more objective way, and suggests a methodolgy to do so.

He doesn't attempt to give all the answers, and the author comes across as being humble and non dogmatic.

I hope this book will encourage further debate and progress on this important subject. The future of humankind may depend on it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Sam makes a strong case that religious beliefs in morality must not be deemed above honest scientific investigation. The HUMAN BEINGS (Gods themselves being absent in the natural world) who enjoy power by being in the upper echelons of the religious elite dislike questioning exactly like other "unquestionable authorities" such as dictatorships and authoritarian regimes. It is clear that the improvement in ethical standards in modern times (and mainly in the West unfortunately) has little to do with godly edicts forever frozen in their time of revelation to us mortals. It has to do with honest and free discourse between peoples which has ONLY become permissible as fears of religion have weakened allowing unfettered human inquisitiveness on moral issues.

"GOD" gave us a questioning nature - big mistake on her part. So lets use it to ask her fans and representatives why they think thay have the copyright on morality.
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