October 23, 2013 · 6:00 PM
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Louise will introduce us to Professor Patricia Churchland, a Canadian-American philosopher noted for her contributions to neurophilosophy and the philosophy of mind.
Churchland has focused on the interface between neuroscience and philosophy. According to her, philosophers are increasingly realizing that to understand the mind one must understand the brain. She is associated with a school of thought called eliminative materialism, which argues that commonsense, immediately intuitive, or "folk psychological" concepts such as thought, free will, and consciousness will likely need to be revised in a physically reductionistic way as neuroscientists discover more about the nature of brain function.
In 2011, Churchland published "Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us About Morality." Here is a preview of the book. As fond as we are of Sam Harris and his The Moral Landscape, consider that work an appetizer for Churchland's feast in Braintrust.
What is morality? Where does it come from? And why do most of us heed its call most of the time? In Braintrust, neurophilosophy pioneer Patricia Churchland argues that morality originates in the biology of the brain. She describes the "neurobiological platform of bonding" that, modified by evolutionary pressures and cultural values, has led to human styles of moral behavior. The result is a provocative genealogy of morals that asks us to reevaluate the priority given to religion, absolute rules, and pure reason in accounting for the basis of morality.
**A late addition from our atheist friends in Santa Cruz as Raquel Ortiz will be visiting and available for questions. She is a recently retired English teacher from Valencia, Spain, a member of Europa Laica, which supports the separation of church and state and a society where freedom of thought is a central tenet. For more info in Spanish about Europa Laica: http://www.laicismo.org/europa_laica
This is going to be our first meeting at the new location! Find us upstairs near the other bar. Please email me if you have any questions or concerns about the new location.