Making Sense with Sam Harris

Making Sense with Sam Harris

Join neuroscientist, philosopher, and best-selling author Sam Harris as he explores important and controversial questions about the human mind, society, and current events. Sam Harris is the author of five New York Times bestsellers. His books include The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, The Moral Landscape, Free Will, Lying, Waking Up, and Islam and the Future of Tolerance (with Maajid Nawaz). The End of Faith won the 2005 PEN Award for Nonfiction. His writing and public lectures cover a wide range of topics—neuroscience, moral philosophy, religion, meditation practice, human violence, rationality—but generally focus on how a growing understanding of ourselves and the world is changing our sense of how we should live. Harris's work has been published in more than 20 languages and has been discussed in The New York Times, Time, Scientific American, Nature, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, and many other journals. He has written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Economist, The Times (London), The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, The Annals of Neurology, and elsewhere. Sam Harris received a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA.... Show More

Episodes

August 3, 2020 134 min

In this episode the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Gabriel Dance about the global epidemic of child sexual abuse. They discuss how misleading the concept of “child pornography” is, the failure of governments and tech companies to grapple with the problem, the tradeoff between online privacy and protecting children, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, photo DNA, the roles played by specific tech companies, the e...

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July 29, 2020 48 min

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Kathryn Paige Harden about public controversy over group differences in traits like intelligence and ongoing research in behavioral genetics. They discuss Harden’s criticism of the Making Sense episode featuring Charles Murray, the mingling of scientific thinking with politics and social activism, cancel culture, environmental and genetic contributions to individual and group d...

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July 17, 2020 72 min

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Robert Plomin about the role that DNA plays in determining who we are. They discuss the birth of behavioral genetics, the taboo around studying the influence of genes on human psychology, controversies surrounding the topic of group differences, the first law of behavior genetics, heritability, nature and nurture, the mystery of non-shared environment, the way genes help determ...

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July 9, 2020 106 min

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with William J. Perry and Lisa Perry about the ever-present threat of nuclear war. They discuss the history of nuclear weapons, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the present threat of accidental nuclear war, nuclear terrorism, unilateral disarmament, the psychology of deterrence, tactical nuclear weapons, cybersecurity, details of command and control, ...

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July 3, 2020 57 min

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Scott Barry Kaufman about human well-being. They discuss intelligence and creativity, wisdom and transcendence, the history of humanistic psychology, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, the connection between well-being and ethics, self-esteem, psychedelics and meditation, peak and plateau experiences, mortality salience, the pre-trans fallacy, fear of uncertainty, work and meanin...

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June 23, 2020 64 min

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Toby Ord about preserving the long term future of humanity. They discuss moral biases with respect to distance in space and time, the psychology of effective altruism, feeling good vs doing good, possible blindspots in consequentialism, natural vs human-caused risk, asteroid impacts, nuclear war, pandemics, the potentially cosmic significance of human survival, the difference b...

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In this episode of the podcast, Sam discusses the recent social protests and civil unrest, in light of what we know about racism and police violence in America.

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May 26, 2020 44 min

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with David Frum about the shifting political landscape. They discuss the secularization of politics, distrust of the media and other institutions, voter suppression, the 2020 elections, what happens if Trump gets a second term, the role of money in politics, conspiracy theories around Covid-19, the Michael Flynn controversy, the prospect that Trump will refuse to leave office, and o...

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In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Daniel Markovits about the problems with meritocracy. They discuss the nature of inequality in the United States, the disappearance of the leisure class, the difference between labor and capital as sources of inequality, the way the education system amplifies inequality, the shrinking middle class, deaths of despair, differing social norms among the elite and the working class,...

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May 18, 2020 65 min

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Jonathan Haidt about the maintenance of a healthy society. They discuss the problem of orthodoxy, the history of political polarization in the US, the breakdown of public conversation, remaining uncertainty about Covid-19, motivated reasoning, the 2020 election, the future prospects for Gen Z, the effect of social media on the mental health of girls, Jonathan's experience w...

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May 13, 2020 67 min

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Caitlin Flanagan about her cancer recurrence and the response to her recent article in The Atlantic discussing it. They discuss the dynamics of apologies and forgiveness, the #MeToo movement and the allegations against Biden, modern feminism, and other topics.

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May 11, 2020 38 min

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Andrew Yang about the Covid-19 pandemic. They discuss the future of the middle class, Andrew’s experience campaigning for President, the need to build new digital infrastructure, universal basic income (UBI), concerns about the Biden’s age and #MeToo allegation, hostility between the United States and China, problems with the global supply chain, concerns about social cohesion,...

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May 1, 2020 68 min

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Yuval Noah Harari about the Covid-19 pandemic and its future implications. They discuss the failures of global leadership, the widespread distrust of institutions, the benefits of nationalism and its current unraveling in the U.S., politics as a way of reconciling competing desires, the consequences of misinformation, the enduring respect for science, the future of surveillance...

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April 29, 2020 32 min

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with James Clear about habit formation. They discuss the difference between creating good habits and discontinuing bad ones, the role of the environment, the misalignment between immediate and long term outcomes, the remembering self vs the experiencing self, goals vs systems, the compounding of incremental gains, the role of attention, the four laws of behavior change, “temptation ...

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April 23, 2020 37 min

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris and Caitlin Flanagan discuss the ethics of abortion, the fact that universities with immense endowments are laying off staff during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Woody Allen autobiography, the moral hypocrisy of Hollywood, the lessons of "Tiger King," and other topics.

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April 16, 2020 58 min

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris and Paul Bloom discuss the false tradeoff between the economy and public health, putting a price on human life, framing effects for moral questions, how Covid-19 may change human behavior, "turn-key totalitarianism," the future of education, the long term psychological effects of the pandemic, the 2020 election, the prospect that Sanders supporters won't vote for Biden, and wha...

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April 12, 2020 30 min

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Caitlin Flanagan. They discuss the different sorts of experiences people are having during the Covid-19 pandemic, what it has exposed about our education system, the 2020 election and the many problems with Joe Biden, why the press has been slow to cover Biden’s #MeToo allegation, the perceived double standards in the press and within feminism, and other topics.

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April 10, 2020 59 min

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Laurie Santos about the scientific study of happiness. They discuss people’s expectations about happiness, the experiencing self vs the remembered self, framing effects, the importance of social connections, the effect of focusing on the happiness of others, introversion and extroversion, the influence of technology on social life, our relationship to time, the connection betwe...

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In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with General Stanley McChrystal and Chris Fussell about the Covid-19 pandemic. They discuss the nature of the ongoing crisis, the threat of a breakdown in social order, the problem of misinformation, the prospects of a nationwide lockdown, the trade off between personal freedom and safety, the threat of tyranny, the concerns about the global supply chain, concerns about the price of...

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March 24, 2020 104 min

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Matt Mullenweg about the evolution of distributed work. They discuss the benefits of working from home, the new norms of knowledge work, relevant tools and security concerns, the challenges for managers, the importance of written communication, the necessity of innovating in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, delivery networks as critical infrastructure, economic recovery, and ...

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