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Why Scientific Progress in Ethics Is Frozen

New Ideal, from the Ayn Rand Institute

Society & Culture

In this episode, Ben Bayer reads aloud his article “Why Scientific Progress in Ethics is Frozen.” In that essay, he examines some recent attempts by public intellectuals like Steven Pinker, Michael Shermer, and Sam Harris to provide a scientific foundation for ethics. He observes that all of them make a conventional assumption that equates the subject matter of ethics with proper relationships with other people. He argues that this equation is overly narrow and fails to take account of the actual subject of the wider array of ethical theories throughout history. Bayer argues that we must challenge the conventional equation if we are to have a scientific revolution in ethics. The article was originally published in New Ideal, the Ayn Rand Institute’s journal, on January 13, 2021.


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