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Making Sense with 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.

Location:

United States

Description:

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.

Language:

English


Episodes
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#368 — Freedom & Censorship

5/20/2024
Sam Harris speaks with Greg Lukianoff about free speech and cancel culture. They discuss the origins of political correctness, free speech and its boundaries, the bedrock principle of the First Amendment, technology and the marketplace of ideas, epistemic anarchy, social media and cancellation, comparisons to McCarthyism, self-censorship by professors, cancellation from the Left and Right, justified cancellations, the Hunter Biden laptop story, how to deal with Trump in the media, the state of higher education in America, 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.

Duration:00:42:47

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#367 — Campus Protests, Antisemitism, and Western Values

5/13/2024
Sam Harris discusses the recent protests on college campuses, why focusing narrowly on the problem of "antisemitism" will be counterproductive, widespread confusion about the threat of Islamic extremism, and the necessary defense of Western values. A transcript of this podcast is available on Sam’s blog. 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.

Duration:00:53:46

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#366 — Urban Warfare 2.0

5/7/2024
Sam Harris speaks with John Spencer about the reality of urban warfare and Israel's conduct in the war in Gaza. They discuss the nature of the Hamas attacks on October 7th, what was most surprising about the Hamas videos, the difficulty in distinguishing Hamas from the rest of the population, combatants as a reflection of a society's values, how many people have been killed in Gaza, the proportion of combatants and noncombatants, the double standards to which the IDF is held, the worst criticism that can be made of Israel and the IDF, intentions vs results, what is unique about the war in Gaza, Hamas's use of human shields, what it would mean to defeat Hamas, what the IDF has accomplished so far, the destruction of the Gaza tunnel system, the details of underground warfare, the rescue of hostages, how noncombatants become combatants, how difficult it is to interpret videos of combat, what victory would look like, the likely aftermath of the war, war with Hezbollah, Iran's attack on Israel, what to do about Iran, 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.

Duration:01:39:27

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#365 — Reality Check

5/1/2024
Sam Harris begins by remembering his friendship with Dan Dennett. He then speaks with David Wallace-Wells about the shattering of our information landscape. They discuss the false picture of reality produced during Covid, the success of the vaccines, how various countries fared during the pandemic, our preparation for a future pandemic, how we normalize danger and death, the current global consensus on climate change, the amount of warming we can expect, the consequence of a 2-degree Celsius warming, the effects of air pollution, global vs local considerations, Greta Thunberg and climate catastrophism, growth vs degrowth, market forces, carbon taxes, the consequences of political stagnation, the US national debt, the best way to attack the candidacy of Donald Trump, 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.

Duration:00:51:43

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#364 — Facts & Values

4/23/2024
Sam Harris revisits the central argument he made in his book, The Moral Landscape, about the reality of moral truth. He discusses the way concepts like “good” and “evil” can be thought about objectively, the primacy of our intuitions of truth and falsity, and the unity of knowledge. 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.

Duration:00:28:25

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#363 — Knowledge Work

4/15/2024
Sam Harris speaks with Cal Newport about our use of information technology and the cult of productivity. They discuss the state of social media, the "academic-in-exile effect," free speech and moderation, the effect of the pandemic on knowledge work, slow productivity, the example of Jane Austen, managing up in an organization, defragmenting one's work life, doing fewer things, reasonable deadlines, trading money for time, finding meaning in a post-scarcity world, the anti-work movement, the effects of artificial intelligence on knowledge work, 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.

Duration:00:51:34

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#362 — Six Months of War

4/9/2024
Sam Harris and Josh Szeps (episode co-host) speak with Douglas Murray about the ongoing war in Gaza. They discuss public opinion about the war, the prospect of a widening conflict with Hezbollah and Iran, whether the Iron Dome was a mistake, the sentiments of Israeli Arabs, the global problem of Islamism, the risk of a resurgent right-wing in Europe, the crisis at the southern border in the US, 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.

Duration:00:54:27

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#361 — Sam Bankman-Fried & Effective Altruism

4/1/2024
Sam Harris speaks with William MacAskill about the implosion of FTX and the effect that it has had on the Effective Altruism movement. They discuss the logic of “earning to give,” the mind of SBF, his philanthropy, the character of the EA community, potential problems with focusing on long-term outcomes, AI risk, the effects of the FTX collapse on Will personally, 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.

Duration:01:25:25

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#360 — We Really Don’t Have Free Will?

3/27/2024
Sam Harris speaks with Robert Sapolsky about the widespread belief in free will. They discuss the limits of intuition, the views of Dan Dennett, complexity and emergence, downward causation, abstraction, epigenetics, predictability, fatalism, Benjamin Libet, the primacy of luck, historical change in attitudes about free will, implications for ethics and criminal justice, the psychological satisfaction of punishing bad people, understanding evil, punishment and reward as tools, meritocracy, the consequences of physical beauty, the logic of reasoning, 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.

Duration:00:39:06

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#359 — Getting Used to It

3/19/2024
Sam Harris speaks with Cass Sunstein about habituation and its consequences. They discuss habituation to positive and negative experiences, marriage, happiness, meaning, variety, doing good vs feeling good, midlife crises, kids, wealth and happiness, things vs experience, the “illusory truth effect,” misinformation and social media, echo chambers and extremism, what governments can do to respond to misinformation, free speech on college campuses, the 2024 Presidential election, 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.

Duration:00:31:27

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#358 — The War in Ukraine

3/11/2024
Sam Harris speaks with Yaroslav Trofimov about the War in Ukraine. They discuss the widespread false assumptions that Russia would win a swift victory, Ukrainian attitudes toward Russia, the transformation of the Ukrainian military, Russian incompetence, Russian public opinion, the Azov Battalion and the “de-Nazification” of Ukraine, the role of the Orthodox Church, conspiracy thinking and Russian propaganda, Putin’s popularity on the Right, NATO membership, the Minsk 2 agreement, alleged failures of Western diplomacy, Zelensky’s leadership, the moral clarity of the war, Russian war crimes, the new cult of WW2 victory in Russia, the numbers of casualties and displaced people in Ukraine, delays in US aid to Ukraine, nuclear blackmail, long-range weaponry, the weakness of western sanctions, the sabotage of the Nordstream pipeline, how the war might end, the complicated prospects of a Trump presidency, 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.

Duration:00:36:12

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#357 — America & World Order

3/4/2024
Sam Harris speaks with Bret Stephens about America’s place in the world. They discuss the waning Pax Americana, American isolationism, Republican fondness for Putin, Tucker Carlson, why America should support Ukraine, the significance of Alexei Navalny, what it would mean to properly hold Putin responsible for his death, nuclear blackmail, valid criticisms of Israel, the war in Gaza, Palestinian public opinion, the need for total military defeat, a two-state solution, the isolation of Israel at the UN and the International Criminal Court of Justice, waning support for the war in the Biden Administration, Hezbollah and war with Iran, Israeli politics and the settlements in the West Bank, charges of “settler colonialism,” antisemitism as a series of double standards, the prospect of a Trump victory in 2024, Biden’s age problem, the crisis at the southern border, U.S. immigration policy, 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.

Duration:00:32:28

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#356 — Islam & Freedom

2/28/2024
Sam Harris and Rory Stewart debate whether Islam poses a unique threat to open societies. 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.

Duration:00:29:12

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#355 — A Falling World

2/21/2024
Sam Harris speaks with Peter Zeihan about the unraveling world order. They discuss the Bretton Woods system, America’s role in securing the global supply chain, the coming end of American security guarantees, the shrinking of the US Navy, Houthi terrorism, deterring Iran, conflict in the Middle East, the future of Israel, the limits of immigration, the demographic pyramid, the demise of Europe, the war in Ukraine, the prospect of nuclear war, demographic collapse in China, loose nukes, America’s relative immunity to the world’s chaos, U.S. debt, the U.S. Southern border and immigration policy, why Trump will not win the 2024 election, 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.

Duration:00:48:36

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#354 — Is Moral Progress a Fantasy?

2/16/2024
Sam Harris speaks with John Gray about the possibility of moral and political progress. They discuss historical and current threats to freedom of thought, the limits of law, the spread of dangerous technology, failures of convergence on norms and values, Arthur Koestler, de-industrialization in Europe, fellow travelers and the progressive embrace of barbarism, Bertrand Russell, the absurdity of pacifism, utilitarianism, the moral landscape, George Santayana, moral and scientific realism, pragmatism, atheism, Schopenhauer, liberalism as an historical accident, 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.

Duration:00:40:30

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#353 — Race & Reason

2/11/2024
Sam Harris speaks with Coleman Hughes about race, racism, and social justice. They discuss the ideal of "color blindness," race and crime, Coleman's experience at TED, LatinX, the confusion of the elites, Ibram X. Kendi, affirmative action, class differences, poverty, single-parent families, the death of George Floyd and the trial of Derek Chauvin, mob rule, Candace Owens, Christopher Rufo, guilt by association, John McWhorter, Glenn Loury, reparations for slavery and Jim Crow, immigrant communities, evidence of discrimination, Martin Luther King Jr., 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.

Duration:00:56:17

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#352 — Hubris & Chaos

2/4/2024
Sam Harris speaks with Rory Stewart about the fraying world order. They discuss the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the problems with nation building, cultural ignorance, tolerance for corruption, our catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan, the role that Islam played in our failures in Afghanistan and Iraq, conspiracy theories, the influence of social media, cults of martyrdom, the war in Ukraine, the age of populism, Trump and the future of NATO, Brexit, the current state of politics, GiveDirectly, 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.

Duration:00:29:56

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#351 — 5 Myths about Israel and the War in Gaza

1/30/2024
A transcript of this podcast is available on Sam’s blog. 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.

Duration:00:42:52

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#350 — Sharing Reality

1/23/2024
Sam Harris speaks with Jonathan Rauch and Josh Szeps about the foundations of knowledge and the fragmentation of society. They discuss the state of the mainstream media, diversity of viewpoints, the "reality-based" community, what Covid did to our information landscape, the Overton window and the news value of controversial stories, the unique challenge of Trump and Trumpism, the dangers of a second Trump term, the problem of immigration and controlling the southern border of the U.S., 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.

Duration:00:42:35

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#349 — Generosity, Cynicism, and the Future of Doing Good

1/16/2024
Sam Harris speaks with Chris Anderson about generosity in the age of the Internet. They talk about the new spirit of cynicism in tech and finance, the problems with DEI, the Coleman Hughes controversy at TED, the norm of color blindness, the science of generosity, the leverage of the Internet, the false opposition between selfishness and selflessness, mixed motives in giving, results vs reward, the importance of intentions, looking for the good in people, digital business models, the economics of TED, TEDx, wealth inequality, the ethics of billionaires, philanthropy at scale, the power of pledges, the arguments of Peter Singer, the Sam Bankman-Fried scandal, problems with Effective Altruism, how to improve our digital lives, 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.

Duration:01:03:08