Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Moral Minds links

Here are some links to sites that are related to our discussion of Marc Hauser's Moral Minds.

Rorty's review of MM in the NY Times.

Edsten and Richerson Review of MM at American Scientist Online.

The Books and Publicity page from Hauser's website.

Mixing Memory Blog: Where is morality in the brain? Sequel is here.

Brain Ethics Blog with an excellent bibliography of neuroethics readings.

The Moral Sense Test at Harvard.

Carl Zimmer Who's Life Would You Save? Discover (2004)

Neuroethics homepage at UPenn

Joshua Greene's home page is here, with links to many of his articles on neuroscientific research on ethics. Below are a few select articles:

Joshua Greene, The Secret Joke of Kant's Soul
I will argue that deontological judgments tend to be driven by emotional responses, and that deontological philosophy, rather than being grounded in moral reasoning, is to a large extent an exercise in moral rationalization. This is in contrast to consequentialism, which, I will argue, arises from rather different psychological processes, ones that are more “cognitive,” and more likely to involve genuine moral reasoning. These claims are strictly empirical, and I will defend them on the basis of the available evidence. Needless to say, my argument will be speculative and will not be conclusive. Beyond this, I will argue that if these empirical claims are true, they may have normative implications, casting doubt on deontology as a school of normative moral thought.

Joshua Greene, et al. An fMRI Investigation of Emotional Engagement in Moral Judgment, Science 293 (2001)
In two functional
magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies using moral dilemmas as probes, we apply the methods of cognitive neuroscience to the study of moral judgment. We argue that moral dilemmas vary systematically in the extent to which they engage emotional processing and that these variations in emotional engagement influence moral judgment. These results may shed light on some puzzling patterns in moral judgment observed by contemporary philosophers.

Joshua Greene, et al. The Neural Bases of Cognitive Conflict and Control in Moral Judgment, Neuron 44 (2004)
Traditional theories of moral psychology emphasize reasoning
and “higher cognition,” while more recent work emphasizes the role of emotion. The present fMRI data support a theory of moral judgment according to which both “cognitive” and emotional processes play crucial and sometimes mutually competitive roles.