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Notes and Reflections on Books and Media

by Hannah Leitheiser

Fairness / Justice

The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values

Sam Harris

2011

Link

2019-09-16

were told by an omniscient being that we had made a few choices that, though eminently fair, would lead to the unnecessary misery of millions, while parameters that were ever-so-slightly less fair would entail no such suffering? Could we be indifferent to this information? The moment we conceive of justice as being fully separable from human well-being, we are faced with the prospect of there being morally “right” actions and social systems that are, on balance, detrimental to the welfare of everyone affected by them. To simply bite the bullet on this point, as Rawls seemed to do, saying “there is no reason to think that just institutions will maximize the good” 43 seems a mere embrace of moral and philosophical defeat. - Sam Harris, The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values (2011)