I’m completing a review of Julian Baggini’s “Freedom Regained” [previous reference] [and another] in which there are quite a few comparative references to Sam Harris and Dan Dennett. I’m a big fan of the latter – philosopher first and foremost with a special interest in evolution and cognitive science. Harris I often defend as a subtle moral philosopher; despite disagreeing with many of his headline conclusions his qualifications are often important. I was slightly thrown by Baggini referring to him as a “scientist” – so I checked him out on wikipedia and his own web pages.
Quaker / Jewish background. It’s not clear what his first Stanford course was in 1986 (*) – when he experimented with psychedelics, dropped-out after two years and travelled in India. (Sounds familiar?) He later gained a Batchelor’s in Philosophy in 2000 and a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience in 2009.
(* English apparently – also figures and sounds familiar.)
So perhaps “scientist” as a tag does reflect his most recent & significant field. Interesting.