Tuesday, 23 March 2010

TED Talk: Science Can Answer Moral Questions

3 comments:

Marcel said...

These are interesting ideas that Sam Harris is sharing and yes, I think science can provide a moral compass to, if not answer questions of morality.

But I also think that Harris would be very reluctant to admit that it's not our western values that are of necessity morally superior.

I believe that there may be a platonic realm of universal human rights. But that isn't to say that the human rights enshrined in the universal declaration of human rights are just that, the perfect embodiment of a morally superior set of values.

In the final analysis I find some of Harris' claims quite despicable, such as his allusion to the 'fact' that Moslem fathers cannot, in the context of their believe system, love there daughters as much as 'western' fathers can.

mikeinphuket said...

I agree with your final point, and I do think at time Harris does borderline on what the host at the end of the clip alluded to as 'cultural imperialism.'

This aside Harris does build a compelling and fascinating argument that is sincere in its desire to lead the human race in the right direction.

The parallel he draws between the Muslim worlds covering of female bodies and the western worlds flaunting of the female form, and the fact that neither of these two extremes represent a flourishing in human endeavor, is a stark illustration of two side of the same coin.

To progress as a race it is obvious that we need to find the middle ground between these two extremes and secure intellectual and social development for future generations - I think Harris illustrates this admirably

Personally speaking I don't think that Harris is 'cultural imperialist' although his is very direct his intellectual reasoning of sensitive subject matter is not for the anyone even partly clothed in a dogmatic view of of the world.

Mike

Intaki said...

But what about people who believe that life is hell on Earth. Or rather, that this life is actually purgatory.

Also, the powers that be would never accept this guy's premise that all humans should have pain-free childhoods and fully supported emotional development. We wouldn't have any military left!