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Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality

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Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Moral values, Churchland argues, are rooted in a behavior common to all mammals--the caring for offspring. The evolved structure, processes, and chemistry of the brain incline humans to strive not only for self-preservation but for the well-being of allied selves--first offspring, then mates, kin, and so on, in wider and wider "caring" circles. Separation and exclusion cause pain, and the company of loved ones causes pleasure; responding to feelings of social pain and pleasure, brains adjust their circuitry to local customs. In this way, caring is apportioned, conscience molded, and moral intuitions instilled. A key part of the story is oxytocin, an ancient body-and-brain molecule that, by decreasing the stress response, allows humans to develop the trust in one another necessary for the development of close-knit ties, social institutions, and morality.

A major new account of what really makes us moral, Braintrust challenges us to reconsider the origins of some of our most cherished values.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Chapter 1. Introduction 1

Chapter 2. Brain-Based Values 12

Chapter 3. Caring and Caring For 27

Chapter 4. Cooperating and Trusting 63

Chapter 5. Networking: Genes, Brains, and Behavior 95

Chapter 6. Skills for a Social Life 118

Chapter 7. Not as a Rule 163

Chapter 8. Religion and Morality 191

Notes 205

Bibliography 235

Acknowledgments 259

Index 261

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400838080
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Subject:
Psychology : Applied Psychology
Author:
Churchland, Patricia Smith
Author:
Churchland, Patricia S.
Subject:
Biology-Neurobiology
Subject:
Popular Science-General
Subject:
Psychology-Mind and Consciousness
Subject:
Applied Psychology
Subject:
Philosophy
Subject:
Cognitive science
Subject:
Biological Sciences.
Subject:
Health and Medicine-Medical Specialties
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Subject:
Philosophy : Ethics & Moral Philosophy
Subject:
Medical : Neuroscience
Publication Date:
March 2011
Binding:
eBooks
Language:
English
Pages:
264

Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Specialties
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Mind and Consciousness
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » Relationships
Humanities » Philosophy » Ethics
Humanities » Philosophy » General
Reference » Science Reference » General

Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality
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Product details 264 pages Princeton University Press - English 9781400838080 Reviews:
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