Conscience: The Origins of Moral Intuition

Version: Unabridged
Author: Patricia S. Churchland
Narrator: Suzie Althens
Genres: Non-Fiction, Philosophy
Publisher: Tantor
Published In: July 2019
# of Units: 7 CDs
Length: 8 hours
Ratings:
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Overview

In Conscience, Patricia S. Churchland, the distinguished founder of neurophilosophy, explores how moral systems arise from our physical selves in combination with environmental demands.

All social groups have ideals for behavior, even though ethics vary among different cultures and among individuals within each culture. In trying to understand why, Churchland brings together an understanding of the influences of nature and nurture. She looks to evolution to elucidate how, from birth, our brains are configured to form bonds, to cooperate, and to care. Conscience delves into scientific studies, particularly the fascinating work on twins, to deepen our understanding of whether people have a predisposition to embrace specific ethical stands. Research on psychopaths illuminates the knowledge about those who abide by no moral system and the explanations science gives for these disturbing individuals.

Churchland then turns to philosophy-that of Socrates, Aquinas, and contemporary thinkers like Owen Flanagan-to explore why morality is central to all societies, how it is transmitted through the generations, and why different cultures live by different morals. Her unparalleled ability to join ideas rarely put into dialogue brings light to a subject that speaks to the meaning of being human.

Author Details

Author Details

Churchland, Patricia S.

Patricia S. Churchland is professor emerita of philosophy at the University of California, San Diego, and an adjunct professor at the Salk Institute. Her books include "Brain-Wise" and "Neurophilosophy". In 1991, she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship.