Moral Judgment, Humans, and Evolution
The Second in a Series of Conferences on Neuroculture
About This Event

We think of ourselves in two ways: as responsible individuals who are accountable for our actions and as a species that has evolved to its present condition. How do we blend these two perspectives? How do we reconcile the spiritual and moral side of life with the vision of human Listen to Audio


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motivation that seems to be advanced so often by evolutionary psychology? Two distinguished panels of philosophers and psychologists addressed aspects of those questions and discussed how they relate to the social and political changes occurring in the world today. The panelists were Stephen Darwall, a professor of philosophy at Yale University who researches metaethics; Jonathan Haidt, a professor of social psychology at the University of Virginia who studies morality and emotion; David A. Pizarro, an assistant professor of psychology at Cornell University who researches moral judgment; and philosopher, writer, and AEI resident scholar Roger Scruton. AEI resident scholar Sally Satel, M.D., moderated the discussion.

Agenda

Speaker biographies

Stephen Darwall is the Andrew Downey Orrick Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. He taught for many years at the University of Michigan, where he is the John Dewey Distinguished University Professor Emeritus. He is the author of many books and articles on the history and foundations of ethics. His most recent book is The Second-Person Standpoint: Morality, Respect, and Accountability (Harvard, 2006). His other books include Impartial Reason (Cornell, 1983), Philosophical Ethics (Westview, 1997), Welfare and Rational Care (Princeton, 2004), and The British Moralists and the Internal 'Ought': 1640-1740 (Cambridge, 1995). A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he is, with David Velleman, a founding coeditor of Philosophers' Imprint.

Jonathan Haidt is a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia. He studies the emotional and intuitive foundations of morality, politics, and religion. His current work is based on the idea that morality is a team sport and that political liberals have more difficulty understanding this than do political conservatives. He is the author of The Happiness Hypothesis (Basic Books, 2006) and is currently writing The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.

David Pizarro is an assistant professor of psychology at Cornell University. His primary interest is moral judgment, particularly moral intuitions (especially concerning moral responsibility and the permissibility or impermissibility of certain acts) and the biases that affect moral judgment. Mr. Pizarro also has a general interest in the influence of emotional states on thinking and deciding.

Sally Satel, M.D., a practicing psychiatrist and lecturer at the Yale University School of Medicine, examines mental health policy as well as political trends in medicine. Her publications include PC, M.D.: How Political Correctness Is Corrupting Medicine (Basic Books, 2001); The Health Disparities Myth (AEI Press, 2006); When Altruism Isn't Enough: The Case for Compensating Organ Donors (AEI Press, 2009); and One Nation under Therapy (St. Martin's Press, 2005), coauthored with Christina Hoff Sommers.

Roger Scruton, a writer, philosopher, and public commentator, has written widely on political and cultural issues as well as on aesthetics, with particular attention to music and architecture. The author of more than thirty books, his most recent ones include Culture Counts: Faith and Healing in a World Besieged (Encounter Books, 2007); A Political Philosophy (Continuum Books, 2006), a response to the development and decline of Western civilization; and The West and the Rest (ISI Books, 2001), an analysis of the values held by the West and how they are distinct from those held by other cultures. Mr. Scruton is also a founding editor of The Salisbury Review and the founder of Claridge Press, which is now part of Continuum International Publishing Group. He writes a column on cultural matters for The American Spectator and on wine for The New Statesman in Britain. At AEI, Mr. Scruton researches environmental protection from a cultural and philosophical angle.

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