There’s been a bit of discussion lately about the relationship between science and human values. Partly because of the recent Edge Seminar (see The new science of morality, Is and ought and A scientific consensus on human morality). But also because of recent talks by Sam Harris arguing that science can determine human values. He expresses his ideas more clearly in his book The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values
It’s an excellent book – I have just finished reading it and will express my thoughts on the ideas in a separate post shortly.
But for others interested in this subject NPR has produced a podcast with an interesting set of interviews (see Can Science Shape Human Values? And Should It?).
In this Ira Flatow talks with scientists and philosophers about the origins of human values, and the influence of modern scientific thought on human values. Even if science can shape human morals, should it? Or does science bring its own set of preconceptions and prejudices to moral questions?
Those appearing on the podcast include:
Lawrence Krauss: foundation professor, School of Earth and Space Exploration and Physics Department, director, Origins Project
Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
Simon Blackburn: research professor, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Bertrand Russell professor of philosophy, University of Cambridge
Sam Harris: Author, “The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values“; Author, “The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason“; co-founder and CEO,
Steven Pinker: Johnstone Family professor, department of psychology
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
There’s even a discussion of “How can science and religion inform each other?” And they take some call-in questions.
Thanks to Jerry Coyne (See Science and morality: a Science Friday discussion).
- Sam Harris on The Daily Show (openparachute.wordpress.com)
- “Sam Harris – The Moral Landscape (Audio Book)” and related posts (dotsis.com)
- Waking up to morality (openparachute.wordpress.com)
- “The Moral Landscape”: Why science should shape morality – Katherine Don – Salon (richarddawkins.net)