First, his reasons for finding the fact/value distinction illusory leave a bit to be desired. Harrisā€™s use of neuroimaging studies here is far from compelling. While the data themselves are certainly interestingā€”indeed, Harrisā€™s original scientific publications are fascinatingā€”his interpretation of them in The Moral Landscape is extravagant. It seems odd to try to assess the relationship between two ideas or judgments by analyzing whether the same brain regions are active when each is represented in the human mind. Surely such an assessment requires one to analyze the ideas or judgments themselves. If the same brain regions are active when people mentally perform addition and multiplication, would Harris conclude that the addition/multiplication distinction is illusory?
The above is incredibly bad. How does he make such a leap of bad faith?
Not if its the brain activity that you are interested in, and the relative 'truth' or 'merit' of an idea or judgement being already agreed upon. The idea being to see if there is correlative effect in the brain in relation to those ideas.
No, it would show that the same brain areas are in operation for each.
Did he just equate math with value judgements?
Is it a perfect book? I found it less compelling than his other writings but then I believe it was aimed strongly at those people who think science has no right to say anything on the subject of morality. To read Orr's review ( and Chucks post ) you would think that unless the neuroimager goes #beep# Harris won't believe it happened.
I of course am quite prepared to have Chuck hold my feet over the fire for this...bring it Chuck c'mon BRING IT!!
Disclaimer: I joke Chuck and look forward to learning the error of my ways.
Just in case here is Haris defending himself, unfortunately not a response to Orr but something non the less: http://www.samharris.org/site/full_t...nse-to-critics