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Science of Morality

Date & Time

Thursday, May 29, 2008
8:15 PM - 9:45 PM
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Location

92nd Street Y

Science is investigating the biological roots of empathy, altruism and cooperation to discover whether we possess an innate moral grammar, much like language, or whether morality arises from the interactions among biological and social systems.

In this presentation at the 92nd Street Y, philosophers Patricia Churchland and Daniel Dennett, neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, and evolutionary biologist Marc Hauser discussed the science of right and wrong, and explored how our scientific understanding of morality may affect society, from shaping justice systems to deciding whether to engage in wars or to assist others in economic and humanitarian struggles. The event was moderated by author and journalist Jon Meacham.

Image © Andrey Novikov | Dreamstime.com

Participants

  • Antonio Damasio

    Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio is one of the world’s leading neurologists and neuroscientists and has made seminal contributions to the understanding of how the brain processes emotion, decision, and consciousness. More »
  • Daniel Dennett

    Philosopher and Author Daniel Dennett is a philosopher who studies mind and consciousness through the lens of evolutionary biology and cognitive science. Author of several bestselling books including Darwin’s Dangerous Idea and Consciousness Explained, he is the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy and Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. More »
  • Patricia Churchland

    Neuroethicist Neuroethicist Patricia Churchland explores the complex philosophical and ethical impact that the rapidly expanding field of neuroscience has on society. She is the President's Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, San Diego, and an adjunct professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla. More »
  • Jon Meacham

    Author and Journalist Jon Meacham is the managing editor of Newsweek magazine, a bestselling author, and a commentator on politics, history, and faith in America. His books include Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship and American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation. More »