Episode 305

Moral Knowledge

A Conversation with Erik Hoel

December 7, 2022

Sam Harris speaks with Erik Hoel about the nature of moral truth. They discuss the connection between consequentialism and Effective Altruism, the problems with implementing academic moral philosophy, bad arguments against consequentialism, the implications of AI for our morality, the dangers of moral certainty, whether all claims about good and evil are claims about consequences, the problem of moral fanaticism, difficulty in thinking about low-probability events, and other topics.

Erik Hoel is an author and scientist who grew up in his mother’s independent bookstore and later received his PhD in neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was previously a Forbes 30 Under 30 in science, and he's been a visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced study in Princeton, as well as a New York City Emerging Writer’s Fellow. His debut novel The Revelations was published last year. Erik recently left his professorship to write on his Substack, The Intrinsic Perspective, full-time. He lives on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

Website: https://erikhoel.substack.com/about

Twitter: @erikphoel


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