Monday, 8 August 2011

Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality.

What can science tell us about morality?
While the slippery and subjective nature of morality makes it a troubling specimen, it remains a crucial part of our lives—and therefore a topic ripe for scientific research.
However, scientists are skilled at describing what is—the circumstances under which people are more likely to lie, for instance—which is not the same as describing how we ought to live our lives, like when it’s OK to lie. So it’s not entirely clear what scientists can offer here without overstepping their bounds.
Yet in Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality, Patricia Churchland carefully leads the reader through scientific findings with implications for morality and ethics, well aware of the pitfalls and rewards she may encounter along the way. Churchland, a professor of philosophy at the University of California, San Diego, quickly informs the reader that science cannot tell us what we ought to do to be moral, but that a review of findings from psychology and biology may explain how or why we do it. Her goal is to draw on these findings to build an objective framework in which to understand human morality. 

I think the challenge is to actually link human genomics with neurochemistry. Although, I am not sure if anyone is prepared to face the ramifications of the studies. 
Full review article here

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