This is the first video of the four-part debate that Sam Harris and I undertook in June 2018. Audio normalizes at 4:40.
Sam and I met twice in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with Bret Weinstein moderating, for a third time in Dublin, Ireland, and for a fourth and final time in London, England. Douglas Murray joined the debate with us for the latter two occasions.
Sam is a well-known Enlightenment rationalist, and a prominent atheist – one of the “four horsemen,” along with Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens (now unfortunately deceased) and Daniel Dennett. He believes (1) that our ethical systems should or even must be grounded in something other than arbitrary revelation or opinion; (2) that the world of facts can and should provide that grounding; and (3) that the grounding of values in fact can occur in the absence of much perceptual or cognitive intermediation.
I agree with him with regard to point (1) but not point (2) and (3). I won’t present any of my argument here, however, because Sam isn’t here to respond, as he is in the videos.
I have also written three blog posts on the Harris/Peterson discussions, here:
A note on the release of the videos, and their delay: Any event of this scale occurs because of the collaboration of many people, including, in this case. Travis Pangburn and his staff at Pangburn Philosophy, who organized and promoted the four-part debate series, and who incurred substantial financial and reputational risk in doing so (as nothing like this has been attempted before at this scale). None of us were sure at the outset whether Sam and I would manage a useful discussion, let alone four of them, or whether there would be a positive public response. In consequence, we didn’t spend much time before the debate series thinking about release (or formatting/editing) of video or audio recording. Since the events went well, however – appearing both productive and well-received publicly – we decided to move ahead with the production and release of the recordings. The team at Pangburn Philosophy completed the editing, in consequence. Sam and I agreed to allow the initial release behind Travis’s Patreon paywall, for a two-week period, after which we would post the videos for full public access on our respective video platforms, and release the audio in podcast form. The team at Pangburn Philosophy plans to use some substantial portion of what was raised through Patreon subscription for multi-language translation of their previously produced and future content (including these four debates).