328 episodes

Join neuroscientist, philosopher, and five-time New York Times best-selling author Sam Harris as he explores important and controversial questions about the mind, society, current events, moral philosophy, religion, and rationality—with an overarching focus on how a growing understanding of ourselves and the world is changing our sense of how we should live.

Sam is also the creator of the Waking Up app. Combining Sam’s decades of mindfulness practice, profound wisdom from varied philosophical and contemplative traditions, and a commitment to a secular, scientific worldview, Waking Up is a resource for anyone interested in living a more examined, fulfilling life—and a new operating system for the mind.

Waking Up offers free subscriptions to anyone who can’t afford one, and donates a minimum of 10% of profits to the most effective charities around the world. To learn more, please go to WakingUp.com.

Sam Harris received a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA.

Making Sense with Sam Harris Sam Harris

    • Science
    • 4.8 • 142 Ratings

Join neuroscientist, philosopher, and five-time New York Times best-selling author Sam Harris as he explores important and controversial questions about the mind, society, current events, moral philosophy, religion, and rationality—with an overarching focus on how a growing understanding of ourselves and the world is changing our sense of how we should live.

Sam is also the creator of the Waking Up app. Combining Sam’s decades of mindfulness practice, profound wisdom from varied philosophical and contemplative traditions, and a commitment to a secular, scientific worldview, Waking Up is a resource for anyone interested in living a more examined, fulfilling life—and a new operating system for the mind.

Waking Up offers free subscriptions to anyone who can’t afford one, and donates a minimum of 10% of profits to the most effective charities around the world. To learn more, please go to WakingUp.com.

Sam Harris received a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA.

    #310 — Social Media & Public Trust

    #310 — Social Media & Public Trust

    Sam Harris speaks with Bari Weiss, Michael Shellenberger, and Renee DiResta about the release of “the Twitter files” and the loss of trust in the institutions of media and government. They discuss Bari and Michael’s experience of participating in the Twitter files release, the problem of misinformation, the relationship between Twitter and the federal government, Russian influence operations, the challenges of content moderation, Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop, the need for transparency, platforms vs. publishers, Twitter’s resistance to the FBI, political bias at Twitter, J.K. Rowling, the inherent subjectivity of moderation decisions, the rise of competitive platforms, rumors vs. misinformation, how Twitter attempted to control the spread of Covid misinformation, the throttling of Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, the failure of institutions to communicate Covid information well, the risk of paternalism, abuses of power, and other topics.
    If the Making Sense podcast logo in your player is BLACK, you can SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all full-length episodes at samharris.org/subscribe.
    Learning how to train your mind is the single greatest investment you can make in life. That’s why Sam Harris created the Waking Up app. From rational mindfulness practice to lessons on some of life’s most important topics, join Sam as he demystifies the practice of meditation and explores the theory behind it.

    • 1 hr 8 min
    Making Sense of Encounters With Violence | Episode 4 of The Essential Sam Harris

    Making Sense of Encounters With Violence | Episode 4 of The Essential Sam Harris

    This episode centers around the specter of violence and surfaces some of Sam’s most controversial positions and difficult conversations.
    We begin with author and former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss, who delivers some potentially life-saving aspects of “tactical empathy,” which can also be applied to less extreme circumstances. Author and security expert Gavin de Becker then lays out his thesis from The Gift of Fear, which recasts this unfairly maligned emotion as an important attention-demanding, evolved signal.
    We then spend time with Sam’s position on “profiling” and the moral and political complexities woven into it. This careful consideration leads to a conversation with author and firearms instructor Scotty Reitz, as they paint a stark picture of certain extremes of violence and consider what responsible gun ownership might look like.
    Sam then answers questions directly on his often criticized and often misunderstood position on gun ownership before we turn to author and former Navy Seal Jocko Willink to apply pressure on the philosophical stance of pacifism. We conclude with the philosopher Tamler Sommers, who ponders the idea of “honor” in society and inspects how third-party delegation of violence might generate an illusive sense of justice.
     
    About the Series
    Filmmaker Jay Shapiro has produced The Essential Sam Harris, a new series of audio documentaries exploring the major topics that Sam has focused on over the course of his career.
    Each episode weaves together original analysis, critical perspective, and novel thought experiments with some of the most compelling exchanges from the Making Sense archive. Whether you are new to a particular topic, or think you have your mind made up about it, we think you’ll find this series fascinating.
     

    • 36 min
    #309 — Vulnerability, Politics, and Moral Worth

    #309 — Vulnerability, Politics, and Moral Worth

    Sam Harris speaks with Martha C. Nussbaum about her philosophical work. They discuss the relevance of philosophy to personal and political problems, the influence of religion, the problem of dogmatism, the importance of Greek and Roman philosophy for modern thought, the Stoic view of emotions, anger and retribution, deterrence, moral luck, sexual harassment, the philosophical significance of Greek tragedy, grief, human and animal flourishing, the "capabilities approach" to valuing conscious life, the rightness or wrongness of moral hierarchies, "the fragility of goodness," and other topics.
    If the Making Sense podcast logo in your player is BLACK, you can SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all full-length episodes at samharris.org/subscribe.
    Learning how to train your mind is the single greatest investment you can make in life. That’s why Sam Harris created the Waking Up app. From rational mindfulness practice to lessons on some of life’s most important topics, join Sam as he demystifies the practice of meditation and explores the theory behind it.

    • 45 min
    #308 — The Long Game

    #308 — The Long Game

    Sam Harris speaks with Robert Waldinger about the Harvard Study of Adult Development. They discuss the limitations of relying on self-report to assess a person’s well-being; Daniel Kahneman’s remembering and experiencing selves; why it can be hard to figure out what makes us happy; the effects of alcohol, smoking, and exercise; the connection between work and fulfillment; the primacy of relationships; the diminishing importance of wealth; status vs feeling valued; the connection between good relationships and physical health; having kids and marital satisfaction; introversion vs extroversion; mortality and loss; collecting experiences vs things; the benefits of walking; taking relationships for granted; quantity vs quality time; the self and self states; the guru-disciple relationship; and the possibility of enlightenment.
    If the Making Sense podcast logo in your player is BLACK, you can SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all full-length episodes at samharris.org/subscribe.
     
    Learning how to train your mind is the single greatest investment you can make in life. That’s why Sam Harris created the Waking Up app. From rational mindfulness practice to lessons on some of life’s most important topics, join Sam as he demystifies the practice of meditation and explores the theory behind it.

    • 34 min
    Making Sense of Foundations of Morality | Episode 3 of The Essential Sam Harris

    Making Sense of Foundations of Morality | Episode 3 of The Essential Sam Harris

    In this episode, we try to trace morality to its elusive foundations. Throughout the compilation we take a look at Sam’s “Moral Landscape” and his effort to defend an objective path towards moral evaluation.
    We begin with the moral philosopher Peter Singer who outlines his famous “shallow pond” analogy and the framework of utilitarianism. We then hear from the moral psychologist Paul Bloom who makes the case against empathy and points out how it is more often a “bug” in our moral software than a “feature.” Later, William MacAskill describes the way a utilitarian philosophy informs his engagement with the Effective Altruism movement.
    The moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt then puts pressure on Sam’s emphasis on rationality and objective pathways towards morality by injecting a healthy dose of psychological skepticism into the conversation.
    After, we hear a fascinating exchange with the historian Dan Carlin where he and Sam tangle on the fraught issues of cultural relativism.
    We end by exploring the intersection of technological innovation and moral progress with the entrepreneur Uma Valeti, whom Sam seeks out when he encounters his own collision with a personal moral failure.
     
    About the Series
    Filmmaker Jay Shapiro has produced The Essential Sam Harris, a new series of audio documentaries exploring the major topics that Sam has focused on over the course of his career.
    Each episode weaves together original analysis, critical perspective, and novel thought experiments with some of the most compelling exchanges from the Making Sense archive. Whether you are new to a particular topic, or think you have your mind made up about it, we think you’ll find this series fascinating.

    • 44 min
    #307 — Twitter, Elon, & Free Speech

    #307 — Twitter, Elon, & Free Speech

    Sam Harris discusses Elon Musk's behavior on Twitter and the illusion of "free-speech absolutism."
    If the Making Sense podcast logo in your player is BLACK, you can SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all full-length episodes at samharris.org/subscribe.
    Learning how to train your mind is the single greatest investment you can make in life. That’s why Sam Harris created the Waking Up app. From rational mindfulness practice to lessons on some of life’s most important topics, join Sam as he demystifies the practice of meditation and explores the theory behind it.

    • 27 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
142 Ratings

142 Ratings

Juho N. ,

Vaikuttavin podcast

Todella monipuolinen ja mielenkiintoinen podcast, joka on vaikuttanut omaan ajatteluun eniten kaikista kuuntelemistani podcasteista. Todella iso suositus!

Rikhard Kurki ,

Insightful, eye opening and intriguing

Sam Harris is a neuroscientist, thinker, meditator, and an atheist whose podcast is a must-listen to any listener interested in engaging in today’s intellectual conversation.

Kimidelaghetto ,

Voice of reason in today's unreasonable times

Excellent podcast with outstanding guests and an impeccable host. The podcast is deserving of an honest listen, devoid of any preconceptions or ideological motivations by the listener. Sam Harris is a brilliant thinker and writer, who occasionally gets maligned and misrepresented by people who tend to suffer from various ideological pathologies or other intellectual / cognitive deficencies.

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