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Making Sense with Sam Harris

Making Sense with Sam Harris

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.

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Episodes

#194 ? The New Future of Work

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Matt Mullenweg about the evolution of distributed work. They discuss the benefits of working from home, the new norms of knowledge work, relevant tools and security concerns, the challenges for managers, the importance of written communication, the necessity of innovating in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, delivery networks as critical infrastructure, economic recovery, and other topics.

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2020-03-25
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#193 ? Meditation in an Emergency

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks about social contagion and about the importance of understanding one's own mind in an emergency.

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2020-03-20
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#192 ? March 17, 2020

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris and Paul Bloom speak about the psychology of adapting to the coronavirus pandemic, the disastrous analogy between coronavirus and flu, the political siloing of information, true and false concerns over "panic," pressuring China to close down their live animal markets, the economic implications and possible silver linings of the pandemic, what our response suggests about our ability to deal with climate change, Biden vs Sanders, the ethics of praising one's enemies, and other topics.

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2020-03-17
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#191 ? Early Thoughts on a Pandemic

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Amesh Adalja about the spreading coronavirus pandemic. They discuss the contagiousness of the virus and the severity of the resultant illness, the mortality rate and risk factors, vectors of transmission, how long coronavirus can live on surfaces, the importance of social distancing, possible anti-viral treatments, the timeline for a vaccine, the importance of pandemic preparedness, and other topics.

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2020-03-11
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#190 ? How Should We Respond to Coronavirus?

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Nicholas Christakis about the coronavirus pandemic. They discuss the likely effects on society, proactive vs reactive school closures, community transmission, false comparisons between coronavirus and flu, the imperative of social distancing, the timeline of the pandemic, Trump?s political messaging, the widespread distrust of expertise, the importance of "flattening the curve" of the epidemic, the possible failure of our healthcare system, gradations of personal response to this threat, and other topics.

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2020-03-10
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#189 ? Wealth & Happiness

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Scott Galloway about the connection between wealth and happiness. They discuss the problem of wealth inequality, the transfer of wealth from the young to the old, class warfare in Democratic politics, deficit spending, means testing Social Security, Bloomberg?s campaign and ?stop and frisk,? breaking up big tech, privacy absolutism, meditation, mortality, atheism, and other topics.

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2020-03-02
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#188 ? February 28, 2020

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris and Paul Bloom speak about the virtues of President Trump, the campaign prospects of Bloomberg and Sanders, the asymmetrical norms of the Democratic and Republican parties, the marginal role that parents play in the development of their children, wealth inequality and the breakdown of the nuclear family, whether Paul should take LSD, the deplatforming of Peter Singer, and other topics.

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2020-02-28
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#187 ? February 20, 2020

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris and Paul Bloom speak about the epidemic of child sexual abuse, the ethics of loyalty, eugenics, existential risk, the Bloomberg and Sanders campaigns, and other topics.

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2020-02-21
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#186 ? The Bomb

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Fred Kaplan about the ever-present threat of nuclear war. They discuss the history of nuclear deterrence, U.S. first-strike policy, preventive war, limited nuclear war, tactical vs. strategic weapons, Trump?s beliefs about nuclear weapons, the details of command and control, and other topics.

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2020-02-18
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#185 ? February 7, 2020

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris and Paul Bloom speak about "Trump Derangement Syndrome," inequality, the relationship between wealth and happiness, the downside of fame, psychological impediments to noticing progress, and other topics.

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2020-02-07
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#184 ? The Conversational Nature of Reality

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with poet David Whyte about the importance of work and relationships, the balance between training and expressing of one's talents, the lessons of mortality, and other topics.

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2020-02-03
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#183 ? January 28, 2020

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris and Paul Bloom discuss topics in the news including the tragic death of Kobe Bryant. They also explore the paradoxes of moral responsibility.

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2020-01-28
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#182 ? Unlearning Race

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast Sam Harris speaks with Thomas Chatterton Williams about the reality and politics of race. They discuss his book ?Self Portrait in Black and White,? race as a social and biological construct, the prospects of achieving a ?post-racial? society, interracial marriage, and other topics.

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2020-01-23
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#181 ? The Illusory Self

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Richard Lang about how to experience the world beyond the illusion of the self.

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2020-01-13
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#180 ? Sex & Power

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Meghan Daum about her book ?The Problem with Everything.? They discuss contemporary feminism, violence against women, campus sexual assault, moral panics, new norms of conversation, the 2020 Presidential campaign, and other topics. 

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2019-12-30
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#179 ? The Unquiet Mind

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Judson Brewer about addiction, craving, and mindfulness. They discuss the nature of reward-based learning, the role of subjective bias in addiction, the neuroscience of craving, the neural correlates of the sense of self, real-time neuroimaging, effort and effortlessness in meditation, smoking cessation through mindfulness, the difference between dopamine-driven reward and happiness, how to make meditation a habit, working with anxiety, and other topics.

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2019-12-17
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#178 ? The Reality Illusion

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast Sam and Annaka Harris speak with Donald Hoffman about his book ?The Case Against Reality.? They discuss how evolution has failed to select for true perceptions of the world, his ?interface theory? of perception, the primacy of math and logic, how space and time cannot be fundamental, the threat of epistemological skepticism, causality as a useful fiction, the hard problem of consciousness, agency, free will, panpsychism, a mathematics of conscious agents, philosophical idealism, death, psychedelics, the relationship between consciousness and mathematics, and many other topics.

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2019-12-11
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#177 ? Psychedelic Science

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Roland Griffiths about the current state of research on psychedelics. They discuss the historical prohibition against their use; the clinical and scientific promise of psilocybin, mescaline, LSD, DMT, MDMA, and other compounds; the risks associated with these drugs; the role of ?set and setting?; the differences between psychedelics and drugs of abuse; MDMA and neurotoxicity; experiences of unity, sacredness, love, and truth; the long-term consequences of psychedelic experiences; synthetic vs natural drugs; the prospects of devising new psychedelics; microdosing; research on psilocybin and long-term meditators; the experience of encountering other apparent beings; psilocybin treatment of addiction; and other topics. In his Afterword, Sam discusses his experience on a large dose of psilocybin?his first psychedelic experience in 25 years.

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2019-12-02
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#176 ? Knowledge & Redemption

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Lynn Novick about her four-part documentary "College Behind Bars." The film follows the progress of students in the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI) as they pursue their undergraduate degrees. Sam and Lynn are joined by Jule Hall, a BPI graduate who served a 22-year sentence and is now working for the Ford Foundation.

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2019-11-23
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#175 ? Leaving the Faith

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Yasmine Mohammed about her book "Unveiled: How Western Liberals Empower Radical Islam." They discuss her family background and indoctrination into conservative Islam, the double standard that Western liberals use when thinking about women in the Muslim community, the state of feminism in general, honor violence, the validity of criticizing other cultures, and many other topics.

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2019-11-11
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#174 ? Life & Mind

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Richard Dawkins. They discuss the strangeness of the ?gene?s-eye view" of the world, the limits of Darwinian thinking when applied to human life, the concept of the extended phenotype, ideologies as meme complexes, whether consciousness might be an epiphenomenon, psychedelics, meditation, and other topics.

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2019-11-04
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#173 ? Anti-Semitism and Its Discontents

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Bari Weiss about her book ?How to Fight anti-Semitism.? They discuss the three different strands of anti-Semitism (rightwing, leftwing, and Islamic), the Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh, the difference between anti-Semitism and other forms of racism, ?Great Replacement Theory,? the populist response to globalization, the history of anti-Semitism in the U.S., criticisms of Israel, the fate of Jews in Western Europe, and other topics.

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2019-10-28
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#172 ? Among the Deplorables

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Andrew Marantz about his book ?Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation." They discuss the effect of social media on politics, the distinction between publishers and platforms, the problem of guilt by association, getting too close to interview subjects, the confusing nature of troll culture, the notion of ?dog whistles,? how to respond to the current reality of racism, and other topics.

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2019-10-21
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#171 ? Escaping a Christian Cult

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Megan Phelps-Roper about her book "Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church."

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2019-10-08
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#170 ? The Great Uncoupling

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Andrew McAfee about the history of human progress and the modern uncoupling of our prosperity from resource consumption. They discuss the pitfalls and hidden virtues of capitalism, technological progress, environmental policy, the future of the developing world, and other topics.

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2019-10-02
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#169 ? Omens of a Race War

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Kathleen Belew about the white power movement in the United States. They discuss white supremacy, white nationalism, white separatism, the militia movement, ?The Turner Diaries,? the connection between the white power movement and war, the significance of Ruby Ridge and Waco, the Christian Identity movement, the significance of ?leaderless resistance,? the failures of the justice system in prosecuting white power crimes, and other topics.

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2019-09-20
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#168 ? Mind, Space, & Motion

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Barbara Tversky about how our senses of space and motion underlie our capacity for thought. They discuss the evolution of mind prior to language, the importance of imitation and gesture, the sensory and motor homunculi, the information communicated by motion, the role of ?mirror neurons,? sense of direction, natural and unnatural categories, cognitive trade-offs, and other topics.

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2019-09-11
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#167 ? A Few Thoughts on White Supremacy

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris addresses listener concerns that he uses a "double standard" to evaluate the relative threats of white supremacy and jihadism.

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2019-08-26
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#166 ? The Plague Years

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Matt McCarthy about his book "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic." They discuss the problem of drug resistant bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses, and the failure of the pharmaceutical industry to keep pace with evolution.

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2019-08-21
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#165 ? Journey into Wokeness

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Caitlin Flanagan about her work as a writer. They discuss controversies on social media, the contradictions within feminism, media bias, #MeToo, the new norms of sexuality, the wokeness of academia, affirmative action, college admissions, HR departments, sexual harassment, and other topics.

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2019-08-14
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#164 ? Cause & Effect

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Judea Pearl about his work on the mathematics of causality and artificial intelligence. They discuss how science has generally failed to understand causation, different levels of causal inference, counterfactuals, the foundations of knowledge, the nature of possibility, the illusion of free will, artificial intelligence, the nature of consciousness, and other topics.

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2019-08-05
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#163 ? Ricky Gervais

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Ricky Gervais. They discuss fame, the effect of social media, the changing state of comedy, offensive jokes, Louis CK, political hypocrisy, Brexit and Trump, the state of journalism, and other topics.

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2019-07-12
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#162 ? Medical Intelligence

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Eric Topol about the way artificial intelligence can improve medicine. They talk about soaring medical costs and declining health outcomes in the U.S., the problems of too little and too much medicine, the culture of medicine, the travesty of electronic health records, the current status of AI in medicine, the promise of further breakthroughs, possible downsides of relying on AI in medicine, and other topics.

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2019-07-03
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#161 ? Rise & Fall

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Jared Diamond about the rise and fall of civilizations. They discuss political polarization, disparities in civilizational progress, the prospect that there may be biological differences between populations, the precariousness of democracy in the US, the lack of a strong political center, immigration policy, and other topics.

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2019-06-24
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#160 ? The Revenge of History

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Michael Weiss and Yascha Mounk about the state of global politics. They discuss the rise of right-wing populism in Europe, the prospect that democracy could fail in the US, Trump?s political instincts, the political liability of ?wokeness,? the Left?s failure to re-think its support of Chavez, the dangers of political polarization, the attractions of extreme partisanship, cancel culture, and other topics.

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2019-06-17
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#159 ? Conscious

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with his wife, Annaka Harris, about her new book, "Conscious: A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery of the Mind."

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2019-06-06
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#158 ? Understanding Humans in the Wild

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Adam Grant about the social science of the workplace. They discuss how teams work effectively, the nature of power, personality types and fundamental styles of interaction, the critical skill of saying ?no,? creativity, resilience, the strange case of Jonas Salk, the nature of mindfulness, the power of cognitive reappraisal, reflections on mortality, the replication crisis in social science, and other topics. 

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2019-05-30
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#157 ? What Does the Mueller Report Really Say?

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Benjamin Wittes about both volumes of the Mueller Report.

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2019-05-20
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#156 ? The Evolution of Culture

In the episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Nicholas Christakis about his new book, "Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society."

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2019-05-13
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#155 ? Mental Models

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Shane Parrish about some of the mental models that should guide our thinking and behavior.

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2019-04-29
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#154 ? What Do Jihadists Really Want? (2019)

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris reads from an issue of Dabiq, the magazine of ISIS, and discusses the beliefs and goals of jihadists worldwide.

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2019-04-25
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#153 ? Possible Minds

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris introduces John Brockman's new anthology, "Possible Minds: 25 Ways of Looking at AI," in conversation with three of its authors: George Dyson, Alison Gopnik, and Stuart Russell.

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2019-04-15
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#152 ? The Trouble with Facebook

In the episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Roger McNamee about his book Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe.

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2019-03-27
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#151 ? Will We Destroy the Future?

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Nick Bostrom about the problem of existential risk. They discuss public goods, moral illusions, the asymmetry between happiness and suffering, utilitarianism, "the vulnerable world hypothesis," the history of nuclear deterrence, the possible need for "turnkey totalitarianism," whether we're living in a computer simulation, the Doomsday Argument, the implications of extraterrestrial life, and other topics.

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2019-03-18
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#150 ? The Map of Misunderstanding

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Daniel Kahneman at the Beacon Theatre in NYC. They discuss the replication crisis in science, System 1 and System 2, where intuitions reliably fail, expert intuitions, the power of framing, moral illusions, anticipated regret, the asymmetry between threats and opportunities, the utility of worrying, removing obstacles to wanted behaviors, the remembering self vs the experiencing self, improving the quality of gossip, and other topics.

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2019-03-12
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#149 ? The Problem of Addiction

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Sally Satel about addiction. They discuss whether addiction should be considered a disease, the opiate epidemic in the U.S., the unique danger of fentanyl, the politicization of medicine, PTSD, and other topics.

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2019-03-04
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#148 ? Jack Dorsey

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Jack Dorsey about how he manages his dual CEO roles at Square and Twitter, the role that Twitter plays in journalism, how it?s different from other social media, what makes a conversation healthy, the logic by which Twitter suspends people, the argument for kicking Trump off the platform, Jack?s practice of meditation, and other topics.

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2019-02-05
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#147 ? Stephen Fry

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Stephen Fry about comedy, atheism, political correctness, meditation, ambition, empathy, psychedelics, Christopher Hitchens, Stephen's experience of manic depression, and much else.

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2019-01-28
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#146 ? Digital Capitalism

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Douglas Rushkoff about the state of the digital economy.

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2019-01-16
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#145 ? The Information War

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Renee Diresta about Russia's "Internet Research Agency" and its efforts to amplify conspiracy thinking and partisan conflict in the United States.

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2019-01-02
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