Making Sense with Sam Harris

Making Sense with Sam Harris

Sam Harris
Science
263 episodes
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.
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Jason Fried about the recent controversy over the “no politics” policy at his company Basecamp. They discuss his business philosophy, the surrender of institutions to "social-justice" activism, how politics has acquired a religious fervor, some...
    Play45m 3s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Neil deGrasse Tyson about our place in the universe. They discuss our current understanding of extra-solar planets, the prospect that there is complex life elsewhere in the galaxy, the Fermi problem, the possibility that all advanced civilizatio...
    Play52m 6s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Antonio García-Martínez about his recent firing at Apple. They discuss his experience in tech, his book "Chaos Monkeys," the controversy at Apple, cancel culture, and other topics. SUBSCRIBE to listen to the rest of this episode and gain access...
    Play39m 17s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Jesse Singal about a variety of controversial topics. They discuss fragmentation in the media, bad incentives in journalism, Jesse’s encounters with cancel culture, transgender activism, the case of J.K. Rowling, the capture of cultural institut...
    Play45m 24s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris and David Whyte further explore his work in his book Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words. SUBSCRIBE to listen to the rest of this episode and gain access to all full-length episodes of the podcast at samharris.org/...
    Play33m 4s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Michele Gelfand about the difference between tight and loose cultures. They discuss the primacy of cultural norms in governing human behavior, the trade-offs between order and freedom, conservatism vs liberalism, sensitivity to threat, scarcity,...
    Play38m 39s
  • In this nearly 4-hour SPECIAL EPISODE, Rob Reid delivers a 100-minute monologue (broken up into 4 segments, and interleaved with discussions with Sam) about the looming danger of a man-made pandemic, caused by an artificially-modified pathogen. The risk of this occurring is far higher and nearer-ter...
    Play3h 41m 22s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Lisa Feldman Barrett about the origins and function of the human brain. They discuss how brains evolved, the myth of the “triune brain,” the brain’s network organization, the predictive nature of perception and action, the construction of emotio...
    Play1h 7m 38s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Rener Gracie about police procedure and about the special relevance of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for safely controlling resisting suspects. SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all full-length episodes at samharris.org/subscribe.
    Play1h 41m 55s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Peter Singer, Francesca Minerva, and Jeff McMahan about the newly launched Journal of Controversial Ideas. They discuss the ethics of discussing dangerous ideas, the possibility of having a market in vaccines, the taboo around the topic of race...
    Play42m 48s
  • In this episode of the podcast Sam Harris speaks with Bruce Friedrich and Liz Specht from the Good Food Institute about the way the problems of climate change and pandemic risk are directly connected to animal agriculture. The Good Food Institute is an international nonprofit reimagining protein pro...
    Play1h 12m 58s
  • SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all full-length episodes at samharris.org/subscribe.
    Play9m 42s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with James Fadiman about the psychedelic experience. They discuss who should and shouldn’t take psychedelics, set and setting, the role of a guide, the effects of microdosing, the difference between MDMA and true psychedelics, “good” and “bad” trips,...
    Play1h 3m 38s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris presents his full argument on the illusoriness of free will—and explores its ethical and psychological implications. SUBSCRIBE to listen to the rest of this episode and gain access to all full-length episodes of the podcast at samharris.org/subscribe.
    Play43m 55s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam speaks with poet David Whyte about his new and on-going series for the Waking Up app, based on his book, Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words. With the imagery of a poet and the reflection of a philosopher, David turns his...
    Play43m 57s
  • Ricky Gervais calls Sam to ask if AI will replace comedians. They also discuss the implications of not having free will and if a chimp has ever asked, "what does it all mean?" They agree that bears are dangerous. SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all full-length episodes at samharris.org/subscribe.
    Play21m 37s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Frank Wilczek about the fundamental nature of reality. They discuss the difference between science and non-science, the role of intuition in science, the nature of time, the prospect that possibility is an illusion, the current limits of quantum...
    Play59m 13s
  • Ricky Gervais calls to discuss Sam's monster joke from their last conversation and then other things happen... SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all full-length episodes at samharris.org/subscribe.
    Play42m 21s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with mayoral candidate, Andrew Yang, about the future of New York City. SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all full-length episodes at samharris.org/subscribe.
    Play48m 19s
  • Ricky Gervais calls Sam to ask why we dream? They discuss why puns are terrible and breakdown some of the mechanics of comedy. SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all full-length episodes at samharris.org/subscribe.
    Play29m 19s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Iain McGilchrist about the differences between the right and left hemispheres of the human brain. They discuss the evolutionary history of the divided brain, research on surgically divided brains, popular misconceptions about the differences bet...
    Play54m 53s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Zeynep Tufekci about the problem of misinformation and group-think. They discuss the Covid-19 pandemic, the early failures of journalists and public health professionals to make sense of it, the sociology of mask wearing, the problem of correcti...
    Play50m 55s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Jack Goldstone about the rise in social inequality and political instability in the United States. They discuss how wealth is deployed, the loss of social mobility, comparative judgments of well-being, cosmopolitanism and the isolation of the ri...
    Play41m 57s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with General Stanley McChrystal and Chris Fussell about the radicalization of the far Right under Trump. They discuss the events of January 6, 2021, the behavior of the Capitol police, the history of white supremacy in the US, the effect of banning e...
    Play1h 14m 8s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris discusses two dangerous misconceptions about the siege of the Capitol. SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all full-length episodes at samharris.org/subscribe.
    Play41m 18s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris analyzes a few disturbing trends and shares his hopes for 2021. SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all full-length episodes at samharris.org/subscribe.
    Play29m 42s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Will MacAskill about how to do the most good in the world. They discuss the "effective altruism" movement, choosing causes to support, the apparent tension between wealth and altruism, how best to think about generosity over the course of one's...
    Play2h 14m 44s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Stephen Laureys interviews Sam Harris about meditation practice and the scientific study of the mind. They discuss why Sam began to practice meditation, the difference between dualistic and nondualistic mindfulness, the search for happiness, wisdom vs knowledge, our r...
    Play46m 49s
  • Join Sam Harris as he explores some of the most important questions about the human mind, society, and current events. SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all content on samharris.org/subscribe.
    Play1m 42s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Adam Gazzaley about the way our technology is changing us. They discuss our limited ability to process information, our failures of multitasking, "top-down" vs "bottom-up" attention, self-interruptions and switching costs, anxiety, boredom, "dig...
    Play44m 18s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris discusses President Trump's failure to concede the 2020 presidential election. SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all content on samharris.org/subscribe
    Play31m 35s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris describes his new understanding of why people support President Trump. SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all content on samharris.org/subscribe
    Play8m 23s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris and Andrew Sullivan sing the praises of President Trump. SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all full-length episodes at samharris.org/subscribe.
    Play1h 35m 35s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Nicholas Christakis about the Covid-19 pandemic. They discuss the breakdown of trust in institutions and experts, the corruption of science by politics, the ineptitude of the Trump administration in handling the pandemic, whether the gravity of...
    Play1h 5m 1s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Michael Sandel about the problem with meritocracy . They discuss the dark side of the concept of merit, the pernicious myth of the self-made man, the moral significance of luck, the backlash against "elites" and expertise, how we value human exc...
    Play46m 48s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Nina Schick about the growing epidemic of misinformation and disinformation. They discuss the coming problem of “deep fakes,” the history of Russian “active measures” against the West, the weaponization of the EU migration crisis, Russian target...
    Play47m 59s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with James R. Doty about his memoir “Into the Magic Shop.” They discuss the significance of childhood stress, the possibility of changing one’s core beliefs about oneself, the relationship between surgeons and their patients, the nature of compassion...
    Play48m 17s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Tristan Harris about the ways in which social media is fracturing society. They discuss the rise in teen depression and suicide, political polarization, conspiracy theories, information warfare, the decoupling of power and responsibility, the di...
    Play47m 22s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with John McWhorter about race, racism, and “anti-racism” in America. They discuss how conceptions of racism have changed, the ubiquitous threat of being branded a “racist,” the contradictions within identity politics, recent echoes of the OJ verdict...
    Play1h 11m 49s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Graeme Wood about the breakdown of social order in the U.S. They discuss the recent eruptions of violence, the loss of trust in the media, the cases of Jacob Blake and Kyle Rittenhouse, how to understand police videos, the risks of vigilantism,...
    Play50m 50s
  • In this episode the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with David Miliband about his work with the International Rescue Committee. They discuss the crisis of internally displaced peoples and refugees, the problem with open borders, the vetting of refugees, the limits of nation-building and diplomacy, the re...
    Play49m 26s
  • In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Siddhartha Mukherjee about our ongoing failure to adequately respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. They discuss the significance of asymptomatic spread, the lack of Chinese cooperation, the failures of testing, travel restrictions, the missteps of t...
    Play46m 29s
  • 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 pro...
    Play2h 14m 2s
  • 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 s...
    Play48m 37s
  • 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,...
    Play1h 12m 2s
  • 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 ter...
    Play1h 46m 4s
  • 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, psyched...
    Play57m 34s
  • 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...
    Play1h 4m 50s
  • 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. SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all full-length episodes at samharris.org/subscribe.
    Play1h 52m 45s
  • 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 p...
    Play44m 36s
  • 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 sy...
    Play58m 59s