01/16/23 Biking & Listening

Biking is something else I both love and hate. It takes a lot of effort but does provide good exercise and most days over an hour to listen to a good book or podcast. I especially like having ridden.

Here’s my bike, a Rockhopper by Specialized. I purchased it November 2021 from Venture Out in Guntersville; Mike is top notch! So is the bike, and the ‘old’ man seat I salvaged from an old Walmart bike.

Here’s a link to today’s bike ride. It’s what I call my pistol route, which is my goal every day. But, sometimes cold weather says otherwise.

Here’s what I’m currently listening to:

Making Sense of the Foundations of Morality

About this episode:

January 5, 2023

In this episode, we try to trace morality to its elusive foundations. Throughout the compilation we take a look at Sam’s “Moral Landscape” and his effort to defend an objective path towards moral evaluation.

We begin with the moral philosopher Peter Singer who outlines his famous “shallow pond” analogy and the framework of utilitarianism. We then hear from the moral psychologist Paul Bloom who makes the case against empathy and points out how it is more often a “bug” in our moral software than a “feature.” Later, William MacAskill describes the way a utilitarian philosophy informs his engagement with the Effective Altruism movement.

The moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt then puts pressure on Sam’s emphasis on rationality and objective pathways towards morality by injecting a healthy dose of psychological skepticism into the conversation.

After, we hear a fascinating exchange with the historian Dan Carlin where he and Sam tangle on the fraught issues of cultural relativism.

We end by exploring the intersection of technological innovation and moral progress with the entrepreneur Uma Valeti, whom Sam seeks out when he encounters his own collision with a personal moral failure.

About the Series

Filmmaker Jay Shapiro has produced The Essential Sam Harris, a new series of audio documentaries exploring the major topics that Sam has focused on over the course of his career.

Each episode weaves together original analysis, critical perspective, and novel thought experiments with some of the most compelling exchanges from the Making Sense archive. Whether you are new to a particular topic, or think you have your mind made up about it, we think you’ll find this series fascinating.

Author: Richard L. Fricks

Former CPA, attorney, and lifelong wanderer. I'm now a full-time skeptic and part-time novelist. The rest of my time I spend biking, gardening, meditating, photographing, reading, writing, and encouraging others to adopt The Pencil Driven Life.

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