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Making Sense with Sam Harris
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Making Sense with Sam Harris

Author: Sam Harris

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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.
261 Episodes
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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 of the cultural risks of remote work, keeping activists out of one’s company, social media use as analogous to smoking cigarettes, antitrust regulations for big tech, how social media might be improved, the tax-avoidance schemes of the richest Americans, the prospect of implementing a wealth tax, and other topics. SUBSCRIBE to listen to the rest of this episode and gain access to all full-length episodes of the podcast 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.
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 civilizations self destruct, how we can detect life on exoplanets, recent media interest in UFOs, whether a direct encounter with alien life would change our world, the flat-Earth conspiracy, the public understanding of science, the problem of political partisanship, racial inequality, and other topics. SUBSCRIBE to listen to the rest of this episode and gain access to all full-length episodes of the podcast 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.
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 to all full-length episodes of the podcast 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.
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 institutions by the far Left, racism, class inequality, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, whether Jesse should try psychedelics, and other topics. SUBSCRIBE to listen to the rest of this episode and gain access to all full-length episodes of the podcast 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.
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/subscribe.
#248 — Order & Freedom

#248 — Order & Freedom

2021-04-3044:2012

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, the COVID pandemic, the Jeffrey Toobin affair, political polarization, the problem of extreme stereotypes, and other topics. SUBSCRIBE to listen to the rest of this episode and gain access to all full-length episodes of the podcast at samharris.org/subscribe.
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-term than almost anyone realizes.  Rob explains the science and motivations that could produce such a catastrophe and explores the steps that society must start taking today to prevent it. These measures are concrete, affordable, and scientifically fascinating—and almost all of them are applicable to future, natural pandemics as well. So if we take most of them, the odds of a future Covid-like outbreak would plummet—a priceless collateral benefit.  SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all full-length episodes at samharris.org/subscribe.
#247 — Constructing Minds

#247 — Constructing Minds

2021-04-2201:07:3811

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 emotion, concepts as prescriptions for action, culture as an operating system, and other topics. SUBSCRIBE to listen to the rest of this episode and gain access to all full-length episodes of the podcast at samharris.org/subscribe.
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.
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 and IQ, the relationship between activism and academia, the shallow-pond argument for doing good, and other topics. SUBSCRIBE to listen to the rest of this episode and gain access to all full-length episodes of the podcast at samharris.org/subscribe.
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 production. SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all full-length episodes at samharris.org/subscribe.
SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all full-length episodes at samharris.org/subscribe.
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, the power of thought, the fiction of a unified self, changing states of self, compassion, and other topics. SUBSCRIBE to listen to the rest of this episode and gain access to all full-length episodes of the podcast at samharris.org/subscribe.
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.
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 attention to ordinary words, each a doorway into the underlying currents of human life. They discuss 4 tracks from the first installment—Friendship, Honesty, Ambition, and Alone. SUBSCRIBE to listen to the rest of this episode and gain access to all full-length episodes of the podcast at samharris.org/subscribe.
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.
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 mechanics, the uncertainty principle, space-time as a substance, the “unreasonable effectiveness” of mathematics in science, the possibility that we might be living in a simulation, the fundamental building blocks of matter, the structure of atoms, the four fundamental forces, wave-particle duality, the electromagnetic spectrum, the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, the implications of infinite space-time, dark energy and dark matter, and other topics. SUBSCRIBE to listen to the rest of this episode and gain access to all full-length episodes of the podcast at samharris.org/subscribe.
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.
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.
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.
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Comments (1884)

Joe Weyek

Trump wants to be returned to the presidency this August, and millions want this to happen, and Sam Harris is obsessed with the threat of the Wokeness epidemic.

Jun 18th
Reply

unhumen 1

love how you decided to end the free half version on "cockamamy beliefs"... great phrase to fade out on.

Jun 18th
Reply

Mark Saltiel

Sam's trained his mind not to see his own biases.

May 27th
Reply

Jonathan Roseland

The ultimate irony is that this is a Sam Harris podcast, Sam tirelessly spreads this demoralizing ideological cocktail... Atheism - There are no metaphysical consequences for evil. There are no consequences for your actions that will inescapably accrue to you after this life. Materialism - You're a "biological robot" in a meaningless universe. No free will - You aren't actually in control of your own actions. Which is guaranteed to produce the kinds of extreme nihilists - seething with anger at the world - that would want to cook up and release upon us a real pandemic.

May 23rd
Reply

Besufekad Azage

What a story. Wow

May 17th
Reply

RIDD EEKO

M.A.D... Mutually Assured Diagnostics =))

Apr 28th
Reply

Nicolas Brylle

By far one of the best but also scariest podcasts of the year! Thank you Rob and Sam

Apr 26th
Reply

Itay Avi

it seems the solution is simple: disarm the public, disarm the police 🤷

Apr 25th
Reply

Cliffy B.

Mine numbingly predictable, boring and solutionless.

Apr 20th
Reply

Cesare DiRienzi

OMG I know Sam warned about the guy's speaking style, but damn I had to play it at 2/3 speed to understand what he was saying.

Apr 19th
Reply (9)

Cliffy B.

I think that what we’re seeing isn’t intensification of what was already there. I don’t think that any of this is new I think people seeing that it exists is new. You can also argue that garbage food has change the structure and construction of the brain making it harder to have rational arguments with people. And there’s lots of other stuff that I think is really smart that I want to say but I forgot what it was. Thank you and good night. 

Apr 17th
Reply

Cliffy B.

Are you monetizing me bro?

Apr 17th
Reply

Cliffy B.

The disinformation age

Apr 17th
Reply

Pedro

Sam, your guy doesn't know what he's talking about, police training regarding weapon use is regularly repeated. Then you glibly say she drew her weapon and shot him by mistake. Tasers are holstered in the cross draw position, are much lighter and brightly colored.. As Trevor Noah said it's not the bad apples, the tree is poisoned. We know you're in denial about systemic racism, you make that obvious often.

Apr 16th
Reply (20)

Lucas Mccallon

too many lies that were uncontested in this conversation.

Apr 12th
Reply (1)

Cliffy B.

I’m not sure Sam is as intelligent as I thought he was. This is just another case of same shit, different day. Politics have always contaminated peoples consciousness. You can’t trust the government you’ve never been able to trust the government it’s made up of people more interested in themselves than anything else that’s an institution you’re going to trust? fraid not yo.  

Apr 7th
Reply

Cliffy B.

As someone who does vedic astrology I got a chuckle out of this one. If you wanna know about the astrology of identical twins room look up Krishnamurti work with astrology in the 20th century. How scientific is it to talk about things that you have no experience with?

Apr 5th
Reply

CAT

nailed it

Mar 31st
Reply

Sean Everett

me: pick a podcast topic for today's episode sam: free will me: what will you say? sam: whatever thoughts invade my consciousness

Mar 16th
Reply

mike palmer

Oh great now my spare room is full of geodes and I can’t even blame anyone...

Mar 16th
Reply
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