Sam Harris at TED

This is from the Technology Education Development conference last month. I’m not sure how much I agree with him here. The line between an objective morality and an absolutist one is pretty tricky. I think that if you have a  situation and you have different possible courses of action to resolve it, one of them is going to cause the least amount of harm and that would be objectively the best way to act. But then the thing about science is that we’re always finding out new stuff – like for example we could discover that harm is being caused where we previously thought there wasn’t.

This is not so much of a problem in science today because nowadays we have specialization and people devoting themselves to very specific sub-fields of study. So scientists can take minute details into account on how they affect their overall picture. But when it comes to ethics and morality, every single one of us would need to devote just as much time to do some sort of meticulous analysis since we really all have to use ethics and morality. And if we’re all going to take a scientific approach then that’s what we’ll have to do. It’s too much work, and I for one am very lazy.


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