I am a fan of Sam Harris and his work and believe that I have learned a lot by reading his books and listening to his debates. Over the past year, I have engaged with his writings in great detail and sent him several emails with my thoughts and criticisms. Sam is a busy man and I accept that, apart from two thank you notes, he has chosen not to respond. However, I think it’s in keeping with the values of Project Reason if comprehensive constructive criticism of his ideas is made available and opened up to discussion to anybody interested in it.
Since several emails refer to earlier ones and since I feel that together they form a whole, I thought it would be best if I publish them all in chronological order (while also trying to post them in the appropriate category of discussion).
Since many of these are somewhat long essays, I have added a TL;DR version at the beginning of each. Feel free to discuss the short version, the long version or both.
List of Contents:
1. (31.8.11) A Thank You From a Reader (praise for The Moral Landscape and a short text on personal development)
2. (1.9.11) A Brief Note on the Meaning of Secularism
3. (9.7.12) Would an Omnipotent God Have Free Will? (an attempt to clarify Sam’s position on free will)
4. (5.5.14) Thoughts Regarding a Computational Approach to Consciousness (while not originally intended as such, this can be seen as my reply to the second chapter of Waking Up)
5. (15.5.14) Brain Imaging (a description of my physiological condition and a request for Sam’s help in finding out more about it)
6. (17.5.14) Thoughts on Economics (comments on Sam’s writings on inequality and economics in general)
7. (25.5.14) Introduction to Libertarianism (a follow-up on the previous)
8. (28.5.14) On Suffering (a response to Sam’s Adventures in the Land of Illness)
9. (1.6.14) Re: Brain Imaging (I repeat my earlier request)
10. (4.6.14) I Ought Not Be Sending This (a brief note on the Is-ought problem)
11. (5.6.14) Bill Hicks’ Positive Drug Story (on the blog post Drugs and the Meaning of Life)
12. (8.6.14) On Epistemology (inspired by Sam’s reply to Ryan Born; includes my response to the Repugnant Conclusion)
13. (3.8.14) On the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (a reply to Sam’s Why Don’t I Criticize Israel?)
14. (31.8.14) My Thoughts on the First Chapter of Waking Up
15. (19.9.14) My Thoughts on the Rest of Waking Up (Part One)
16. (22.9.14) My Thoughts on the Rest of Waking Up (Part Two) (a note on Schopenhauer and my response to three common objections to computationalism)
17. (1.10.14) Oink Oink (on Sam’s I’m Not the Sexist Pig You’re Looking For)
18. (5.11.14) On Meditation (Part One) (inspired by Sam’s The Path and the Goal)
19. (20.1.15) On Artificial General Intelligence (on Sam’s answer to the 2015 Edge Question; includes a thought experiment on total inequality)
20. (23.1.15) Re: On Artificial General Intelligence (a brief clarification on the previous)
21. (25.1.15) On Charlie Hebdo and Intellectual Property (on the podcast After Charlie Hebdo and Other Thoughts)
22. (1.2.15) On Lying (a brief review of the book and comments on intellectual honesty)
23. (26.2.15) Animals, Food and Desire (inspired in part by Magnus Vinding’s criticism of Sam’s stance on animal use; also, a critique of Christopher Ryan’s theory of evolutionary psychology)
24. (9.3.15) God Fighter (on the video “Street Fighter II ‘Best of Church Edition’ Starring Benny Hinn”, posted by Sam on his Facebook page on 5.3.15)
25. (3.4.15) On Meditation (Part Two) (another text on personal development and one on the relationship between spirituality and sexuality)
Thanks Daniel! Still reading through them. They are very interesting.