Making Sense with Sam Harris

All Genres #175Science #5

Join neuroscientist, philosopher, and five-time New York Times best-selling author Sam Harris as he explores important and controversial questions about the mind, society, current events, moral philosophy, religion, and rationality—with an overarching focus on how a growing understanding of ourselves and the world is changing our sense of how we should live. Sam is also the creator of the Waking Up app. Combining Sam’s decades of mindfulness practice, profound wisdom from varied philosophical and contemplative traditions, and a commitment to a secular, scientific worldview, Waking Up is a resource for anyone interested in living a more examined, fulfilling life—and a new operating system for the mind. Waking Up offers free subscriptions to anyone who can’t afford one, and donates a minimum of 10% of profits to the most effective charities around the world. To learn more, please go to Sam Harris received a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA.

Recent Episodes
  • #363 — Knowledge Work
    Apr 15, 2024 – 51:34
  • #362 — Six Months of War
    Apr 9, 2024 – 54:27
  • #361 — Sam Bankman-Fried & Effective Altruism
    Apr 1, 2024 – 01:25:25
  • #360 — We Really Don’t Have Free Will?
    Mar 27, 2024 – 39:06
  • #359 — Getting Used to It
    Mar 19, 2024 – 31:27
  • #358 — The War in Ukraine
    Mar 11, 2024 – 36:12
  • #357 — America & World Order
    Mar 4, 2024 – 32:28
  • #356 — Islam & Freedom
    Feb 28, 2024 – 29:12
  • #355 — A Falling World
    Feb 21, 2024 – 48:36
  • #354 — Is Moral Progress a Fantasy?
    Feb 16, 2024 – 40:30
  • #353 — Race & Reason
    Feb 11, 2024 – 56:17
  • #352 — Hubris & Chaos
    Feb 4, 2024 – 29:56
  • #351 — 5 Myths about Israel and the War in Gaza
    Jan 30, 2024 – 42:52
  • #350 — Sharing Reality
    Jan 23, 2024 – 42:35
  • #349 — Generosity, Cynicism, and the Future of Doing Good
    Jan 16, 2024 – 01:03:08
  • #348 — The Politics of Antisemitism
    Jan 5, 2024 – 40:16
  • #347 — Finding Sanity in 2024
    Jan 2, 2024 – 08:59
  • #346 — The Best Kept Secret In History?
    Dec 22, 2023 – 39:42
  • #345 — Resilience
    Dec 18, 2023 – 02:04:16
  • #344 — The War in Gaza
    Dec 12, 2023 – 58:52
  • #343 — What Is "Islamophobia"?
    Dec 6, 2023 – 11:51
  • #342 — Animal Minds & Moral Truths
    Nov 27, 2023 – 01:02:18
  • #341 — Gaza & Global Order
    Nov 16, 2023 – 54:51
  • #340 — The Bright Line Between Good and Evil
    Nov 7, 2023 – 59:25
  • #339 — The Infernal Logic of Jihad
    Nov 3, 2023 – 50:47
  • #338 — The Sin of Moral Equivalence
    Oct 12, 2023 – 14:21
  • #337 — The Future of Psychedelic Medicine
    Oct 4, 2023 – 01:41:41
  • #336 — The Roots of Identity Politics
    Sep 27, 2023 – 01:02:20
  • #335 — A Postmortem on My Response to Covid
    Sep 22, 2023 – 01:10:43
  • #334 — The Low-Trust Society
    Sep 18, 2023 – 49:32
  • #333 — Sanity Check on Climate Change
    Sep 5, 2023 – 01:07:39
  • #332 — Can We Contain Artificial Intelligence?
    Aug 28, 2023 – 55:24
  • #331 — A Golden Age for Assholes
    Aug 20, 2023 – 09:25
  • #330 — The Doomsday Machine
    Aug 16, 2023 – 01:35:44
  • #329 — What Happened to the Republican Party?
    Aug 12, 2023 – 01:00:42
  • #328 — Health & Longevity
    Aug 2, 2023 – 01:03:01
  • #327 — Transformative Experiences
    Jul 21, 2023 – 49:33
  • #326 — AI & Information Integrity
    Jul 6, 2023 – 49:14
  • #325 — A Few Thoughts About RFK Jr.
    Jul 3, 2023 – 26:48
  • #324 — Debating the Future of AI
    Jun 28, 2023 – 54:13
  • #323 — Science & Survival
    Jun 22, 2023 – 46:10
  • Making Sense of Meditation | Episode 10 of The Essential Sam Harris
    Jun 18, 2023 – 39:42
  • #322 — Predicting Reality
    Jun 13, 2023 – 54:04
  • #321 — Reckoning with Parfit
    Jun 5, 2023 – 52:21
  • Making Sense of Death | Episode 9 of The Essential Sam Harris
    May 26, 2023 – 41:07
  • #320 — Constructing Self and World
    May 22, 2023 – 51:20
  • #319 — The Digital Multiverse
    May 15, 2023 – 36:34
  • Making Sense of Social Media and the Information Landscape | Episode 8 of The Essential Sam Harris
    May 5, 2023 – 44:59
  • #318 — Physics & Philosophy
    May 1, 2023 – 54:15
  • #317 — What Do We Know About Our Minds?
    Apr 20, 2023 – 01:07:46
Recent Reviews
  • Starred_Night
    Six months of war
    While normally this podcast is a source of insight, your assessment of Israel's annihilation of the aid workers was premature at least. If not an assassination, it reads more of a society who has forgotten anything except retaliation. It's like an abused child growing up to become an abuser. Everyone loses. Your short-sightedness surprised me. Keep an open mind- like you teach us to do. The team had established a “deconfliction” plan ahead of time with Israeli forces, so the military would know when they would travel and what route they would take. They also wore GPS trackers to make certain their location was clear. The first missile struck one of the armored cars as it drove along the coastal road. Aid workers fled the damaged vehicle for the other armored vehicle. minutes later, the second vehicle was hit and yet people injured and alive moved to this third vehicle until it too was struck.
  • JZhukovsky
    Unbiased, thoughtful analysis
    Think you Sam and for your thoughtful and analytical podcast. I will subscribe.
  • RapaciousRapscallion
    Overly simplistic takes on important matters
    Harris has lost the script and is now making sweeping statements about important current events which are devoid of any historical context and/or outright false. It’s hard to take him seriously as an arbiter of logic and reason when he lacks such qualities in his commentary on current events.
  • moazmatar
    Anti-Palestinian racism
    The speaker is clearly an apologist for israeli apartheid regime. Spewing anti-Palestine hatred along with rabid hatred of islam in general. It’s quite amazing how could an atheist support a religious ethinonationalist society?! Could be a tribal thing !!
  • Cristinas Itunes
    The misinformation paired with the racist views of the host are disgusting. He completely and utterly lacks any humanity. In addition to the fact he fails to go through the effort to research history and only focuses on post Oct 7th and nothing prior.
  • ercanijo
    Islamophobia is ok genocide is not
    I have always defended the rationality of Sam Harris. He has been a magnificent and lucid critic of religion. I feel like he has lost his north. He is not seeing the obvious genocide Israel is doing. He is blinded by tribal perceptions. I understand, he is a Jew; but Israel is literally perpetrating a racist genocide to gain more land. It is disgusting an Harris is blind to it.
  • Heartandbile
    Moral clarity
    Thank you, Sam, for excoriating moral clarity in a time of willful ignorance, extreme naïveté and sheer malice. Don’t always agree with Sam but appreciate the mental tonic of discussions that wrestle hard with ideas and themes swallowed too often by too many on unquestioned premises and assumptions. Wish there were more voices out there like him.
  • drfreckledfox
    Moral intelligence?
    The “accidental killing of aid workers”?! This is insanity. “War” is fighting between two states, which is not what is currently happening in Gaza. This is lunacy, maybe stop touching this topic if you can’t be unbiased. Your critical thinking and so called journalism on this subject is seriously lacking.
  • JD1295223
    William MacAskill
    This was very painful to listen to. Two intelligent, successful men making excuses for the actions of SBF for 90 minutes is just intolerable. So tone deaf and really sad. I’ve been a listener to Sam (Harris) for many years and I’ve disagreed with him on many things throughout those years, but this gross exercise is making me want to cancel my membership…
  • Textdgh
    Arrogant and Damaged
    I certainly am no Trump fan and wish the Republicans would have chosen differently, but Harris is absolutely unhinged about Trump and is not introspective whatsoever as he thinks he has it all figured out. What a damaged man.
  • dbsbsvdb
    I only came here to listen to this man embarras himself all over again by inviting Rory Stewart back and, boy, did it deliver! You’re an intellectual lightweight, Sam. It’s ok. Many people are.
  • sdkitergirl
    Bret Stephens
    That was a wonderful episode. I hope he comes on again. Thank you.
  • DrSuave
    Completely lost it..
    Two stars as earlier this used to be good.. but now, just bigotry and opinionated views.. Either a lot of monologue or badgering guests with his ideas.. worst now if getting a guest back to apologize to Sam.
  • ergeneman
    I used to love this podcast. Until it went to Mr.Harris’s head and he started thinking he can take on politics and international events. It was sad to hear the nakedness of his biases to say the least. All that contemplation and to end up here?
  • PabloViquez
    I was a fan and I knew that Sam has strong opinions on Islam. However now he has an anti-Islam episode every other day and it’s just unbearable.
  • jdelara
    What a sloppy thinker
    I subscribed and listened to several episodes. The more I listen, the more I realize that what appears to be intelligent conversation is actually masking Sam’s very sloppy thinking.
  • PhyllisWhitedick
    Was a fan until the episode with Zeihan despite being a big fan of Peter’s work. Demonizing the right while completely failing to acknowledge the oversights, missteps, and failures of the left/current administration is idiotic and only furthers divisive thinking. The Left wants to destroy the institutions of the right as much as the Right wants to abolish the left. The moral compass has disappeared for each side. If there was ever such a thing. Maybe stay away from politics, Sam. Love quite a bit of your content but, as someone who attempts not to align too much with the right or left, your commentary is too far left.
  • PT Barnum
    Speaking of idiots…
    … We have Tucker Carlson. With that missive I just renewed mymembership.
  • The Falsifiable Podcast
    John Gray’s Totalitarianism
    Not only would John Gray’s philosophy create totalitarianism, his conversational style is totalitarian in that he never lets Harris speak. His superficial argument against Popper’s piecemeal social engineering is another case in point.
  • Liberaljoe
    Sam “colorblind” Harris
    Right wing mascot Coleman Hughes? Really Sam? I understand you are mad about the antisemitic views on the far left. We all are. Are the recent right wing tuned episode a result of that? Come to your senses man. You need some meditation. I know an app
  • Anfkiran31
    Stick to science
    Do not discuss politics, you are super biased and it’s annoying.
  • NedLudd2024
    5 Myths about Israel
    I began listening to this pod about 6 months ago, and appreciated most episodes even if I didn’t entirely agree. But Harris’s recent episode about the Israeli genocide of Palestinians crossed a line and lost absolutely all credibility & this listener. I am actively discouraging folks from listening to this man.
  • thankful 'n glad
    How insane it is to insinuate that Islamists want peace? When they follow the Quran literally they are violently favoring death to all non-Muslims. The Quran is based on lies. Thank goodness for kind hearted family oriented Muslims who do not follow the Quran. Check out CIRA Int’l on YouTube. The host is AlFadi.
    Race is complex. To narrow cast the issue into a US vs THEM or a kumbaya assimilation mantra is futile. The first step in fixing race relations is acknowledging the destruction of numerous thriving black communities from post reconstruction to the 1960’s. Then reviving the empowerment values that made those communities thrive. Only then can we all move on to progress and peace.
  • Annieisokaymmkay
    Badge of Honor
    If you are rating this podcast low because he has a different view than you, YOU are in the wrong. Sam, thank you for standing your ground on logic, as you have always done. Wear the negative reviews as a badge of honor. These people simply prove your point that those unable to look at each individual situation with an open mind will ultimately falter. Looking for confirmation to your bias? This is not the podcast for you.
  • gmhigg
    Sam is losing it
    Use to be great, now seems to have legit lost his mind.
  • kcrz4
    A Voice of Reason
    Grateful for your voice when reason seems to be lost in so many facets of our lives. Thank you for making the pod publicly available without subscription.
  • TinaDangelo
    He pompously glosses over Palestinian deaths and yet will detail the horrors of an Israeli death. He will gloss over Israeli atrocities and will hyperbolize the Palestinian wrongdoings. He doesn’t even for balance dare to present the Palestinian or anti-zionist point of view, even when offered by highly articulate and educated Jews. It’s grotesque & disappointing. I’ll take Ezra Klein & Gabor/Daniel Mate for a more enlightened, self-aware, and less biased discussion. Sam lacks nuance & flexibility of mind on this subject, indeed lacks courage to consider different views/realities, & in the end serves as just another mouthpiece for Israel.
  • Ducati hyper guy
    Disingenuous about Israel crimes
    While Mr Harris has generally informative podcasts his apologist approach to Israel’s murder of Palestinian women and children is sickening. Netanyahu - a proven supporter of Hamas both politically and financially- is removed from Mr Harris’ storyline as it does not support his narrative. Netanyahu supported Hamas to stop a two-state solution. Period. It worked. Palestinian leaders are also to blame for the lack of progress on a two-state solution. Israel’s population is roughly 20% European Jews -hardly deserving of stealing Palestinian land and homes. But that is defended. The U.S. support led by AIPAC - a fifth column within our borders - has Congress and the presidency in their back pockets leading to horrible foreign policies for America but great for Israel. Israel should be treated like any other country but American interests should always be primary.
  • bradleahmac
    5 Myths about Israel . . .
    Long loathing the faux intellectual, Zionist propagandist Sam Harris, I decided to take a bite of this episode as a friend sent it curious of my thoughts. An insufferable 45 minutes of utter garbage: outright lies, deflections, omissions, staggering reductionist racism and more; every single sentence uttered. All in the service of defending “Israel’s” slaughter of over 30k people of Gaza, the majority of them women and children, while starving them and making their land unlivable. To make this episode at all is unconscionable. To do it in such a hushed, cloying, concerned tone is shockingly psychotic. Avoid everything this charlatan has to say at all costs.
  • big E papa
    IDF boot licker
    Sam's recent episode on Israel seals his fate as a pro genocide, pro apartheid, racist IDF boot licker. What a clown. "How could Israel be committing genocide in Gaza look at their population growth" Wow good point Sam where were all those people living before being forced into the concentration camp of Gaza? I'll tell you Sam! The vast majority of gazas population is not native to there. They were ethnically cleansed from their land in "Israel" and sent to a tiny strip of completely blockaded land so the beautiful CIVILIZED (Sam loves that word) nation of Israel could be born. Sam hates religious fanatics but if they are white and civilized, I guess he thinks it's fine for them to displace and then systematically starve millions of people!!! What a sane rational person Sam is....
  • Skydive boy
  • Petunia Jenkins
    Balanced and Fact Driven
    It’s not easy to really listen to facts that challenge your POV. Sam presents truth in a clear, concise way that anyone with an open mind should be able to hear. He is not driven by emotion, he is driven by logic, and it is super refreshing in today’s climate.
  • Lenny allcaa 1985
    Pampered college students
    In 30 minutes Sam explains the history and reality of this conflict which apparently is either ignored or just simply not addressed by our educators. I ask these ignorant, coddled students who protest so vehemently against Israel if they would be willing to strap on a bomb to themselves in the name of Palestinian justice. I think we know the answer. Thank you Sam and I hope more people listen
  • Fcd899
    Waste of Time
    Opinions passed off as truth, trash
  • Connie. Socialista
    Completely out of touch
    This man calls himself a scientist and yet does not speak and break things down in a material sense. His sympathizing view for zionism and that “Israel” is fighting a tough war again “jihadist” lacks context and recorded history! Proving that he is just another elitist that views the world as such. So glad I stopped listening a long time ago.
  • lazebradeb
    Thought provoking and insightful.
  • Bas Yisrael
    Thank you for your bravery
    Thank you for your bravery in explaining Israel’s side here. The world is so biased and uneducated on the topic and you are making a dent.
  • busterbear2
    Attempting to justify the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians, many who are children, is simply immoral. Collective punishment is a crime for a reason. Shame on you. You know better.
  • Lost&not-found
    A moral authority
    Thanks for your sanity and clarity on the war between Israel and the Jihadists.
  • tiredofbsproducts
    Haters gonna hate - the most brilliant man
    One of the most brilliant man of our times. The hateful comments from people who can’t put two logical sentences together are badge of honor.
  • f1-fan not taken
    Thanks for not supporting terrorists
    Hamas are terrorists and anyone who supports them are too! Take a good look in the mirror and realize you are just antisemitic
  • sorenchick
    I’ve listen to every episode of Sam’s podcast since inspection. Since October 7th his genocidal rhetoric towards Palestinian population has been heart-wrenching to listen to. Had to stop listening.
  • Ben’s Take
    Out to Lunch on the Human Condition
    Another pawn for the status quo. His elitism prevents him from seeing the atrocities committed by Israel, for decades, through American sponsorship. Pure lunacy. For me, the writing was on the wall when he welcomed Gad Saad a few yrs back. To not be able to piece it all together is unbelievable.
  • Paro8
    Good on some topics but he is racist so there’s that
    Sam can be thoughtful about some topics and I’ve enjoyed listening to some of his podcasts. But he seems to have totally lost moral clarity with regards to Gaza. He’s called protests “pro Hamas” which is wildly inaccurate. At a time when children are being crushed under rubble and suffering immense pain, he’s focused on talking about radical Islam. Seems radically racist to me.
  • ___tariqb94
    Lacks empathy, Empowers hate
    A seemingly intelligent man who doesn’t have the awareness to see the hypocrisy of his own elitism and condescension. He is truly unable to connect at a human level to contextualize experiences and values in how we engage with the world. 1 star.
  • frainch toast
    I used to have some respect for Sam Harris 15-20 years ago when he preached the unilaterally destructive nature of religion. Now he's a self proclaimed eastern guru and a Zionist. I did love the interview with Sean Carroll. Sean sent Sam to preSCHOOL.
  • AK Moosie
    Poor Guy
    Poor guy fell hook, line, and sinker for the COVID narrative and hasn’t recovered. Pre 2020 I thought Sam had some credibility, although we didn't agree on everything. Now he’s just another pawn for the establishment.
  • RedRidingHood18
    Such brilliant analysis
    In a world that is siloed and refuses to be educated on both sides of every issue Sam brings clarity and logic to intractable problems. Well worth the time.
  • Wang Chung DD
    Ignorant and a dumb man
    Sam Harris, the perfect representation of why we are screwed, people like sam, so blindly ignorant that it’s dangerous. Or is Sam getting paid to say the dumb stuff he says?
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