11 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.

Follow Sam on Twitter: @SamHarrisOrg

The Best of Making Sense with Sam Harris Sam Harris

    • Science

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.

Follow Sam on Twitter: @SamHarrisOrg

    #77 — The Moral Complexity of Genetics

    #77 — The Moral Complexity of Genetics

    Sam Harris speaks with Siddhartha Mukherjee about the human desire to understand and manipulate heredity, the genius of Gregor Mendel, the ethics of altering our genes, the future of genetic medicine, patent issues in genetic research, and other topics.
    Siddhartha Mukherjee is a cancer physician and researcher. He is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a staff cancer physician at the CU/NYU Presbyterian Hospital. A former Rhodes scholar, he graduated from Stanford University, University of Oxford (where he received a PhD studying cancer-causing viruses) and from Harvard Medical School. His laboratory focuses on discovering new cancer drugs using innovative biological methods. He has published articles and commentary in such journals as Nature, New England Journal of Medicine, Neuron and the Journal of Clinical Investigation and in publications such as the New York Times, The New Yorker, and the New Republic. His work was nominated for Best American Science Writing, 2000. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. His most recent book is The Gene: An Intimate History.
    If the Best Of Making Sense podcast logo in your player is BLACK & WHITE, you can SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all full-length episodes at samharris.org/subscribe.
     
    Episodes that have been re-released as part of the Best of Making Sense series may have been edited for relevance since their original airing.

    • 33 min
    #137 — Safe Space

    #137 — Safe Space

    Sam Harris speaks with Jonathan Haidt about his book The Coddling of the American Mind. They discuss the hostility to free speech that has grown more common among young adults, recent moral panics on campus, the role of intentions in ethical life, the economy of prestige in “call out” culture, how we should define bigotry, systemic racism, the paradox of progress, and other topics.
    Jonathan Haidt is the Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He received his Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992 and then did post-doctoral research at the University of Chicago and in Orissa, India. He taught at the University of Virginia for 16 years before moving to NYU-Stern in 2011. He was named one of the “top global thinkers” by Foreign Policy magazine, and one of the “top world thinkers” by Prospect magazine. He is the co-developer of Moral Foundations theory, and of the research site YourMorals.org. He is a co-founder of HeterodoxAcademy.org, which advocates for viewpoint diversity in higher education. He is the author of The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom and The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion. His latest book (with Greg Lukianoff) is The Coddling of the American Mind: How good intentions and bad ideas are setting a generation up for failure.
    If the Best Of Making Sense podcast logo in your player is BLACK & WHITE, you can SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all full-length episodes at samharris.org/subscribe.
     
    Episodes that have been re-released as part of the Best of Making Sense series may have been edited for relevance since their original airing.

    • 39 min
    #127 — Freedom From the Known

    #127 — Freedom From the Known

    Sam Harris speaks with Michael Pollan about his book How to Change Your Mind. They cover the resurgence of interest in psychedelics in clinical practice and end-of-life care, the “betterment of well people,” the relationship between thinking and mental suffering, the differences between psychedelics and meditation, the non-duality of consciousness, the brain’s “default mode network,” their experiences with various psychedelics, and other topics.
    Michael Pollan is the author of eight books, including Cooked, Food Rules, In Defense of Food, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and The Botany of Desire, all of which were New York Times bestsellers. A longtime contributor to the New York Times Magazine, he also teaches writing at Harvard and the University of California, Berkeley. In 2010, TIME magazine named him one of the one hundred most influential people in the world. His most recent book is This Is Your Mind on Plants.
    Twitter: @michaelpollan
    If the Best Of Making Sense podcast logo in your player is BLACK & WHITE, you can SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all full-length episodes at samharris.org/subscribe.
     
    Episodes that have been re-released as part of the Best of Making Sense series may have been edited for relevance since their original airing.

    • 44 min
    #173 — Anti-Semitism and Its Discontents

    #173 — Anti-Semitism and Its Discontents

    Sam Harris speaks with Bari Weiss about her book How to Fight anti-Semitism. They discuss the three different strands of anti-Semitism (rightwing, leftwing, and Islamic), the Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh, the difference between anti-Semitism and other forms of racism, the history of anti-Semitism in the U.S., criticisms of Israel, and other topics.
    Bari Weiss is the editor of Common Sense and the host of the podcast Honestly. From 2017 until 2020, Bari was a staff writer and editor for the Opinion section of The New York Times. Before joining the Times, Bari was an op-ed editor at the Wall Street Journal and an associate book review editor there. For two years, she was a senior editor at Tablet, the online magazine of Jewish news, politics, and culture, where she edited the site's political and news coverage. She regularly appears on shows like The View, Morning Joe and Real Time with Bill Maher.
    If the Best Of Making Sense podcast logo in your player is BLACK & WHITE, you can SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all full-length episodes at samharris.org/subscribe.
     
    Episodes that have been re-released as part of the Best of Making Sense series may have been edited for relevance since their original airing.

    • 47 min
    #48 — What Is Moral Progress?

    #48 — What Is Moral Progress?

    Only the first 38 minutes of this episode are available on the paywalled podcast version (the BLACK & WHITE podcast logo). If you’d like to hear the full 1 hour and 40 minutes of this episode and gain access to all full-length episodes of the podcast, you’ll need to SUBSCRIBE here. If you’re already subscribed and on the private RSS feed, the podcast logo should appear GOLD & WHITE.
    Sam Harris speaks with Peter Singer about the concept of universal moral truths, the ethics of violence, free speech, euthanasia, animal welfare, and other topics.
    Peter Singer is the Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University.  He is the author of Animal Liberation, The Most Good You Can Do, Ethics in the Real World, and most recently Why Vegan? He is also the co-founder of The Life You Can Save, a nonprofit devoted to spreading his ideas about why we should be doing much more to improve the lives of people living in extreme poverty.
    Website: www.petersinger.info
    Twitter: @PeterSinger
     
    Episodes that have been re-released as part of the Best of Making Sense series may have been edited for relevance since their original airing.

    • 38 min
    #116 — AI: Racing Toward the Brink

    #116 — AI: Racing Toward the Brink

    Only the first 48 minutes of this episode are available on the paywalled podcast version (the BLACK & WHITE podcast logo). If you’d like to hear the full 2 hours and 5 minutes of this episode and gain access to all full-length episodes of the podcast, you’ll need to SUBSCRIBE here. If you’re already subscribed and on the private RSS feed, the podcast logo should appear GOLD & WHITE.
    Sam Harris speaks with Eliezer Yudkowsky about the nature of intelligence, different types of AI, the “alignment problem,” IS vs OUGHT, the possibility that future AI might deceive us, the AI arms race, conscious AI, coordination problems, and other topics.
    Eliezer Yudkowsky is a decision theorist and computer scientist at the Machine Intelligence Research Institute in Berkeley, California who is known for his work in technological forecasting. His publications include the Cambridge Handbook of Artificial Intelligence chapter “The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence,” co-authored with Nick Bostrom. Yudkowsky’s writings have helped spark a number of ongoing academic and public debates about the long-term impact of AI, and he has written a number of popular introductions to topics in cognitive science and formal epistemology, such as Rationality: From AI to Zombies and “Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.” He is also the author of Inadequate Equilibria: Where and How Civilizations Get Stuck.
    Twitter: @ESYudkowsky
     
    Episodes that have been re-released as part of the Best of Making Sense series may have been edited for relevance since their original airing.

    • 48 min

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