I just finished The Moral Landscape and began to think as I came near the end that—although welcome to comment on human morality and offering an additional argument for arriving at it without reference to religion—science is not needed to arrive at a proper understanding of our moral landscape.
Socrates, via Plato, already provided us with an adequate argument for the basis of morality, namely the concept of justice—with which all but the sociopath has an innate biological relationship.
Aristotle once said that those not in need of social relationships would prove themselves either gods or beasts. Since there are none of the former we are only left with the latter, those whom the law are forced to deal with.
I agree that science can contribute much to our moral understanding but do not Greek drama and the works of Shakespeare also provide us with an analysis of the “moral peaks” of which Dr. Harris speaks?
The Moral Landscape, for me anyway, is simply icing on a moral cake that has been cooling since the Renaissance, an addendum to that sentiment of long ago that “the proper study of any mankind is man.”
We should make sure the general reader does not come away from Dr. Harris’ latest book thinking science is the only way in which we can arrive at moral truths, a sentiment I am sure he would agree with.
Dr. Jeffery L. Irvin, Jr., Ph.D.
The observer, when he seems to himself to be observing a stone, is really,
if physics is to be believed, observing the effects of the stone upon himself.