Patricia Churchland at Book Works March 9, 2011Posted by Nina Rosenstand in Current Events, Ethics, Nina Rosenstand's Posts, Philosophy of Human Nature.
Tags: "Braintrust", Ethics, morality, neuroscience, Patricia Churchland
A quick message for interested San Diegans: Patricia Churchland will be doing a reading Thursday evening , March 10:
She will be at Book Works in Del Mar Thursday at 7 p.m. for a reading.
From a San Diego Union Tribune interview:
What is new about the hypothesis you are offering?
As I see it, moral values are rooted in family values displayed by 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.
Read more here.