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The neurological basis of morality

For this meeting we will start reading Patricia Churchland's book on the neurological basis of morality in Braintrust (Princeton University Press, 2011). This book received the 2011 PROSE Award for Excellence in Biological & Life Sciences by the Association of American Publishers. The book is available in paperback for about $12.50 and as an ebook for about $10. We will read the first half of the book, through the first four chapters, for the 28th. While it has gotten generally good reviews, not everyone liked the book. Checking on what some people didn't like about it, it seems that the main complaint – other than a couple of folks who were upset because of her support of evolution – was that there was too much philosophy. Sounds good to me.

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  • Curt H.

    A good discussion, though with the large group there were often two or three side conversations going on.

    January 30, 2013

  • Corrinne B

    How does the proposed evolutionary basis of morality challenge or change our conceptualization of moral intentions? Churchland is a materialist and interest in neurology. Fascinating, but is it reductionist and if so, why does that worry me?

    January 12, 2013

  • Corrinne B

    Only recently have I paid much attention to evolutionary theories of morality and Patricia Churchland is very good. I look forward to this work and needed to push to read it. I worry that evolutionary goals: survival of the species "cheapens" intentional moral action. Of course philosophers, such as Plato, said that morality was almost a handicap to some successes and evolutionary theory absolutely challenges that which is great. But aren't there moral decisions which would be contrary to evolutionary goals? I obviously need some specific text and argumentation to advance my ideas here.

    January 12, 2013

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