Join neuroscientist, philosopher, and five-time New York Times best-selling author Sam Harris as he explores important and controversial questions about the min... More
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#127 — Freedom From the Known
Sam Harris speaks with Michael Pollan about his book How to Change Your Mind. They cover the resurgence of interest in psychedelics in clinical practice and end-of-life care, the “betterment of well people,” the relationship between thinking and mental suffering, the differences between psychedelics and meditation, the non-duality of consciousness, the brain’s “default mode network,” their experiences with various psychedelics, and other topics. Michael Pollan is the author of eight books, including Cooked, Food Rules, In Defense of Food, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and The Botany of Desire, all of which were New York Times bestsellers. A longtime contributor to the New York Times Magazine, he also teaches writing at Harvard and the University of California, Berkeley. In 2010, TIME magazine named him one of the one hundred most influential people in the world. His most recent book is This Is Your Mind on Plants. Twitter: @michaelpollan Episodes that have been re-released as part of the Best of Making Sense series may have been edited for relevance since their original airing.
#116 — AI: Racing Toward the Brink
Sam Harris speaks with Eliezer Yudkowsky about the nature of intelligence, different types of AI, the “alignment problem,” IS vs OUGHT, the possibility that future AI might deceive us, the AI arms race, conscious AI, coordination problems, and other topics. Eliezer Yudkowsky is a decision theorist and computer scientist at the Machine Intelligence Research Institute in Berkeley, California who is known for his work in technological forecasting. His publications include the Cambridge Handbook of Artificial Intelligence chapter “The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence,” co-authored with Nick Bostrom. Yudkowsky’s writings have helped spark a number of ongoing academic and public debates about the long-term impact of AI, and he has written a number of popular introductions to topics in cognitive science and formal epistemology, such as Rationality: From AI to Zombies and “Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.” He is also the author of Inadequate Equilibria: Where and How Civilizations Get Stuck. Twitter: @ESYudkowsky Episodes that have been re-released as part of the Best of Making Sense series may have been edited for relevance since their original airing.
#77 — The Moral Complexity of Genetics
Sam Harris speaks with Siddhartha Mukherjee about the human desire to understand and manipulate heredity, the genius of Gregor Mendel, the ethics of altering our genes, the future of genetic medicine, patent issues in genetic research, and other topics. Siddhartha Mukherjee is a cancer physician and researcher. He is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a staff cancer physician at the CU/NYU Presbyterian Hospital. A former Rhodes scholar, he graduated from Stanford University, University of Oxford (where he received a PhD studying cancer-causing viruses) and from Harvard Medical School. His laboratory focuses on discovering new cancer drugs using innovative biological methods. He has published articles and commentary in such journals as Nature, New England Journal of Medicine, Neuron and the Journal of Clinical Investigation and in publications such as The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The New Republic. His work was nominated for Best American Science Writing, 2000. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. His most recent book is The Gene: An Intimate History. Episodes that have been re-released as part of the Best of Making Sense series may have been edited for relevance since their original airing.
#48 — What Is Moral Progress?
Sam Harris speaks with Peter Singer about the concept of universal moral truths, the ethics of violence, free speech, euthanasia, animal welfare, and other topics. Peter Singer is the Professor of Bioethics at the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. He is the author of Animal Liberation, The Most Good You Can Do, Ethics in the Real World, and most recently Why Vegan? He is also the co-founder of The Life You Can Save, a nonprofit devoted to spreading his ideas about why we should be doing much more to improve the lives of people living in extreme poverty. Website: www.petersinger.info Twitter: @PeterSinger Episodes that have been re-released as part of the Best of Making Sense series may have been edited for relevance since their original airing.
#196 — The Science of Happiness
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 between happiness and ethics, hedonic adaptation, the power of mindfulness, resilience, the often illusory significance of reaching goals, and other topics. Laurie Santos is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Yale University. She hosts the popular podcast The Happiness Lab and she teaches the most popular course offered at Yale to date, titled The Science of Well-Being. Laurie is also the director of the Comparative Cognition Laboratory and the Canine Cognition Center at Yale. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Biology from Harvard University in 1997 and her Ph.D. in Psychology from Harvard in 2003. Twitter:@lauriesantos Episodes that have been re-released as part of the Best of Making Sense series may have been edited for relevance since their original airing.
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.