Sam Harris argument
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26-09-2013, 06:04 PM
Re: RE: Sam Harris argument
(26-09-2013 05:30 PM)I and I Wrote:  http://mondoweiss.net/2012/09/sam-harris...q-war.html

Drinking Beverage

Did you write that? Wouldn't surprise me because you both seem very loose with the term "support"

Harris said, with many hypothetical quantifiers in his book: essentially, if you're going to justify harming thousands of innocents, doing whatever necessary to get info to help not harm innocents. Support to harming, in the presumed view, a criminal over an innocent isn't a direct support of torture.

Also, in that article. Obviously the Guy admits a trend of people not agreeing with his "interpretations" it's obvious why. He makes presumptions and false connections.

The first point he made... Was noting Harris said, this one guys comments about races and intelligence, though said and supported stupidly, shouldn't be completely dismissed as invalid.. And using that to claim Harris "supports" pseudoscience. In reality he didn't at all support the claim. His message there and with like situations is more alike supporting open minded view to what may be uncovered as scientific and not dismissing all options.

Oddly, a Guy you'd seem to agree with more than not if you didn't focus so narrowly to your Israel/Jew fascination.(I didn't finish it but was seeing nothing about him following Judaism in there... You can quote bits if articles you know right? I saw the parts he mentioned the Israel topics though)

"Love is hot, Truth is molten!"
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27-09-2013, 06:07 AM
RE: Sam Harris argument
(26-09-2013 06:04 PM)ClydeLee Wrote:  
(26-09-2013 05:30 PM)I and I Wrote:  http://mondoweiss.net/2012/09/sam-harris...q-war.html

Drinking Beverage

Did you write that? Wouldn't surprise me because you both seem very loose with the term "support"

Harris said, with many hypothetical quantifiers in his book: essentially, if you're going to justify harming thousands of innocents, doing whatever necessary to get info to help not harm innocents. Support to harming, in the presumed view, a criminal over an innocent isn't a direct support of torture.

Also, in that article. Obviously the Guy admits a trend of people not agreeing with his "interpretations" it's obvious why. He makes presumptions and false connections.

The first point he made... Was noting Harris said, this one guys comments about races and intelligence, though said and supported stupidly, shouldn't be completely dismissed as invalid.. And using that to claim Harris "supports" pseudoscience. In reality he didn't at all support the claim. His message there and with like situations is more alike supporting open minded view to what may be uncovered as scientific and not dismissing all options.

Oddly, a Guy you'd seem to agree with more than not if you didn't focus so narrowly to your Israel/Jew fascination.(I didn't finish it but was seeing nothing about him following Judaism in there... You can quote bits if articles you know right? I saw the parts he mentioned the Israel topics though)

Right, thanks for agreeing. Sam Harris supports the use of torture.
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27-09-2013, 12:32 PM
RE: Sam Harris argument
(27-09-2013 06:07 AM)I and I Wrote:  Right, thanks for agreeing. Sam Harris supports the use of torture.

Have you read the chapter in The End Of Faith about torture?
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06-10-2013, 05:26 AM
RE: Sam Harris argument
(25-09-2013 09:27 PM)Shawnzy Wrote:  I've been reading The End of Faith and I'm in the chapter about Ethics/morals.

I agree with most of Sam's points on morality, as we define it, to be dependent on the well being/suffering of sentient creatures, and therefore since we are physical beings in a physical universe we can make objective judgments on how to move human beings towards happiness/love instead of hate/suffering.

However, theres the rebuttal that a lot of people like to use which is, "well without god why should i even care about happiness/love, and how can YOU say what happiness/love is, and that I should strive for it".

I know the above rebuttal is bullshit, but I can't think of a solid comeback for it.

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Harris expands on his argument in The Moral Landscape where he addresses that sort of question. It isn't a "bullshit" rebuttal that is why Harris devotes pages trying to answer it and why you don't have a "solid comeback".

Harris doesn't have a definitive answer to that problem and it isn't necessarily tied to theistic concerns. Harris asks what if Jeffrey Dahmer says, "The only peaks on the moral landscape that interest me are the ones where I get to murder young men and have sex with their corpses." (p.34) Harris concedes that he can't answer Dahmer because Dahmer is unconcerned with the flourishing and well-being of others so there is nothing he could ever say to Dahmer. But Harris contends that this isn't really a problem because Dahmer is exceptional, that despite Dahmer and his ilk there is a general consenus that it is a good thing to be concerned with the welfare of others.

Harris contends that considerations of moral conduct parallel those of the concept of health. That is to say that there is a general consensus that a non-gangrenous foot is better than an gangrenous foot but there are people with Münchausen syndrome (my example IIRC) that want to be ill but we don't consider these people as offering an alternate paradigm for healthcare. Rather we deal with them as aberrations. Harris' argument is that we don't think that the notion of health is flawed merely because a small minority of human don't deem it a good.

Harris is a determinist (see his Free Will) so he doesn't see the criminal as morally culpable as such, they are morally responsible he argues but not such that retributive justice is appropriate or meaningful. They should be incarcerated for purely pragmatic reasons, namely to prevent them pursuing their deviant conception of the good and the right, but not to punish them. Harris argues that the notion of moral responsibility is preserved by the act of conscious and explicit planning of criminal behaviour (p.108-9) but this conflicts with his commitment to determinism.

Also, Harris doesn't provide a justification for why morality should be construed in the terms he advocates. Certainly science could determine what would promote the happiness of humans (and other sentient beings) but why should we construe morality as that which promotes the happiness of humans? I'm not arguing that the idea is in principle bad but merely that it is unjustified.

For these reasons I am uncertain that Harris has resolved the is/ought dichotomy.
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06-10-2013, 06:32 AM
RE: Sam Harris argument
(26-09-2013 01:42 AM)I and I Wrote:  Sam Harris supports torture and is not an atheist. He is a follower of Judaism (A religion) and continually supports the founding of and the actions of the religious fascist state known as Israel.

The terms "Jew" and "Jewish" are ambiguous because Judaism is an ethno-religion, i.e. a religion that is closely associated with an ethnicity. Judaism is a religion and Jewishness is an ethncity. The confusion arises because most people that believe Judaism are ethnic Jews so the two aspects of Jewishness become conflated. That this is the case is confirmed by the notion of Jewish atheism and Jewish atheists. If Jewishness pertained only to religion then these would be self-contradictory terms.

Jews do comprise an ethncity but this is obscured not only by the status of Judaism as an ethno-religion but also because of the crypsis of ethnic Jews: they have typically adopted names from the dominant ethnicity in the nation in which they live.

Sam Harris is genealogically half-Jewish but because his mother was (ethnically) Jewish he is--according to Jewish tradition--fully Jewish. Thus Harris is an atheist Jew. I don't think it is coincidental that Harris is concerned with Christian literalism but is unconcerned with Orthodox Jewish literalism. Harris also concerns himself with Christian and Islamic fundamentalism but largely ignores Judaic fundamentalism (see also this). I also think that Harris' ethnic heritage is influencing his (unconditional) support for Israel and support for torture. But Harris' Anglo name and atheism hide that he may be arguing from a less than impartial position and obscure the motivation of his concern only with Christian and Islamic fundamentalism.

Quote:Anyone that supports Israeli Apartheid and Torture probably shouldn't be the one to go to for learning morality.

I agree. Harris' seems to me more concerned with promoting the interests of his ethnic group more than he is promoting reason and other noble ideals. For example Harris' defense of torture is essentially a utilitarian argument yet he provides no novel defense of ethical utilitarianism in The Moral Landscape. If we apply the ethical logic of Harris' pro-torture argument to the ideas in The Moral Landscape then we can make an argument for slavery. If each family can have one slave then the net quantity of well-being will increase overall. The slave can relieve the drudgery of housekeeping and some of the burden of child rearing at the cost of his/her food. The slave can also be harvested of his/her organs and other tissue if anyone in the family should need a kidney, blood, a cornea, skin grafting etc (we don't want to kill the slave just exploit them fully without killing them or making them useful for domestic work).
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06-10-2013, 06:45 AM
RE: Sam Harris argument
(06-10-2013 06:32 AM)Chippy Wrote:  I agree. Harris' seems to me more concerned with promoting the interests of his ethnic group more than he is promoting reason and other noble ideals. For example Harris' defense of torture is essentially a utilitarian argument yet he provides no novel defense of ethical utilitarianism in The Moral Landscape. If we apply the ethical logic of Harris' pro-torture argument to the ideas in The Moral Landscape then we can make an argument for slavery. If each family can have one slave then the net quantity of well-being will increase overall. The slave can relieve the drudgery of housekeeping and some of the burden of child rearing at the cost of his/her food. The slave can also be harvested of his/her organs and other tissue if anyone in the family should need a kidney, blood, a cornea, skin grafting etc (we don't want to kill the slave just exploit them fully without killing them or making them useful for domestic work).

*lays hatchet in a shallow grave, but does not cover up*

I've not read The Moral Landscape, but I'm somewhat familiar with Harris' work. What you say here doesn't really surprise me, Harris isn't bashful about his ideas. What I'm wondering (I'm asking your opinion since I haven't read it), is it more a presentation of an honest idea, or an outright promotion of that mindset?

"It's a most distressing affliction to have a sentimental heart and a skeptical mind.”
― نجيب محفوظ, Sugar Street
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06-10-2013, 07:28 AM
RE: Sam Harris argument
(06-10-2013 06:45 AM)evenheathen Wrote:  I've not read The Moral Landscape, but I'm somewhat familiar with Harris' work. What you say here doesn't really surprise me, Harris isn't bashful about his ideas. What I'm wondering (I'm asking your opinion since I haven't read it), is it more a presentation of an honest idea, or an outright promotion of that mindset?

Ostensibly his project is to address the is-ought problem and to illustrate how science (especially neuroscience) can help towards that goal by telling us how precisely to enhance the subjective well-being of humans. But implicit in the scheme that he is developing is a utilitarian framework and that is what he would need to justify torture. Utilitarianism is an old idea that has had piles of books and papers written about it--both for and against. But Harris doesn't provide any sort of fresh justification for utilitarianism which would overcome all of its known deficiencies. He smuggles it in without even mentioning it by name. He is enculturating his readers to a particular way of thinking about and resolving moral conflicts without explicitly telling them that he is doing that. His book is supposed to be about axiology and meta-ethics it is subtitled "How Science Can Determine Human Values" but he surreptitiously takes his readers into a particular normative ethical theory which is beyond his stated project and as if that were the only way that his axiology--assuming it were valid--could be used. If Harris' project succeeds then he has a scientific axiology not a scientific normative ethical theory. But he makes it look like he has both by obfuscating the distinction.

This looks highly suspect to me and it is highly unlikely that it is entirely consistent with the utilitarian justification that elements of the War on Terror require purely by chance.
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06-10-2013, 07:39 AM
RE: Sam Harris argument
(06-10-2013 07:28 AM)Chippy Wrote:  This looks highly suspect to me and it is highly unlikely that it is entirely consistent with the utilitarian justification that elements of the War on Terror require purely by chance.

That wouldn't surprise me (unfortunately, because overall I like Harris' thoughts on most things), given his thoughts towards profiling. I admit he makes some good points in his argument for profiling, but I think it quickly moves into dangerous territory.

"It's a most distressing affliction to have a sentimental heart and a skeptical mind.”
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06-10-2013, 07:52 AM
RE: Sam Harris argument
(06-10-2013 07:39 AM)evenheathen Wrote:  
(06-10-2013 07:28 AM)Chippy Wrote:  This looks highly suspect to me and it is highly unlikely that it is entirely consistent with the utilitarian justification that elements of the War on Terror require purely by chance.

That wouldn't surprise me (unfortunately, because overall I like Harris' thoughts on most things), given his thoughts towards profiling. I admit he makes some good points in his argument for profiling, but I think it quickly moves into dangerous territory.

Also if Harris has a serious philosophical commitment to utilitarianism then he would support the dissolution of Israel. The existence of Israel and its associated persecution and humiliation of Palestinians pisses off more people than the existence of Israel makes happy. By virtue of the quantity of Muslims vs the quantity of Zionists the net level of human subjective well-being globally would increase if Zionism were abandoned as a political ideology. That would also render the issue of torture largely moot. I'm just holding the man up to his own professed standard.
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06-10-2013, 08:48 AM
RE: Sam Harris argument
(06-10-2013 07:52 AM)Chippy Wrote:  
(06-10-2013 07:39 AM)evenheathen Wrote:  That wouldn't surprise me (unfortunately, because overall I like Harris' thoughts on most things), given his thoughts towards profiling. I admit he makes some good points in his argument for profiling, but I think it quickly moves into dangerous territory.

Also if Harris has a serious philosophical commitment to utilitarianism then he would support the dissolution of Israel. The existence of Israel and its associated persecution and humiliation of Palestinians pisses off more people than the existence of Israel makes happy. By virtue of the quantity of Muslims vs the quantity of Zionists the net level of human subjective well-being globally would increase if Zionism were abandoned as a political ideology. That would also render the issue of torture largely moot. I'm just holding the man up to his own professed standard.

Good point.

"It's a most distressing affliction to have a sentimental heart and a skeptical mind.”
― نجيب محفوظ, Sugar Street
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