Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Truth and the debate on truth between Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson

Sam Harris reports that Jordan Peterson was the person his current audience most wanted him to podcast just because the latter was the only person who spoke of religion in a way that they (largely atheists) could make sense of. The pair started their discussion by agreeing their common ground on the issue of freedom of speech, the Canadian human rights commissions being kangaroo courts and the perniciousness of embedding social constructivist theories of human identity in the law.  Sam Harris then turned to identifying what he thinks is their important disagreement:  a disagreement over the nature of truth. Jordan Peterson distinguishes religious/spiritual/moral truth from scientific truth, claiming that this distinction is licensed by pragmatism, and Sam Harris rejects that distinction. The conversation went on a very long time without resolution and raised two possibilities: either one or the other  was confused about truth or that there was a deeper disagreement about truth than they had managed to bring to light. Quite well known philosophical theory throws a light on this question.