Note: This is not a criticism, it is simply a hypothetical take on the book/ideology. Additionally, I realize the Moral Landscape argument is ‘bleeding-edge’ and this question maybe be more in the realm of philosophizing than pragmatism.
I have read the book and watched all the video media concerning Dr. Harris’ thesis on moral truths. The question I have is whether or not this subject is a slippery slope. Essentially, if the scientific community were to adopt the ideas of Sam, are there any obvious ways that the theory could be perverted to justify some alternative interest?
I don’t foresee many contradictions for individuals applying the Moral Landscape argument. It is more in its macroscopic utilization that problems could occur. Say, for instance, a ‘humanitarian’ foreign occupation. Could you leverage a greater-good argument for the civilians of the occupied country against the economic and social impact for the aggressor (using the Moral Landscape as a guideline)? Maybe this isn’t the best example, but I’m just positing. I am thinking of any large, multi-variable situation where the main justification is the ethical implications of action/inaction.
It certainly seems like Hume’s theory has seen this fate in Sam’s debate against William Lane Craig. Another example would be Ayn Rand’s political theories being adopted by questionable parties as well. I’m not insisting that I agree with these authors, but simply stating examples where ideas have been ‘bent’ beyond their intended scope.
I don’t know if slippery slope says it precisely, but I agree with you at least in part. Morality that hinges on the power of a deity is a dangerous thing. Morality that relies on the power of science is no improvement, in my opinion.
By the way, here’s a much more active Harris forum, where a compelling question isn’t left to the chirping of crickets.
Wow I’m glad you posted that. It seems like this forum is averaging around 1 post per 1,000 views.
Yes—peculiar, isn’t it? I see this forum as an archive of an exhilarating 5 or so years (starting in late 2004) of conversation between a vast assortment of personality types and levels of intelligence. I hope to see you at the more current forum soon. My name there is nv and my non-cyber name is Dave.
I was hoping you were going to say that your non-cyber name is Sam. haha!
I have a feeling he doesn’t like me much, though over the years I’ve written many more words of praise for his courage and brilliance than critiquing words.