Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Neuroscientist Joshua Greene argues that our brains were designed for tribal life, for getting along with a select group of others (Us) and for fighting off everyone else (Them). But modern times have forced the world’s tribes into a shared space, resulting in epic clashes. Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them combines neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy to reveal the underlying causes of modern conflict. Dr. Greene is an award-winning teacher and scientist, and he directs Harvard University’s Moral Cognition Lab, which uses neuroscience and cognitive techniques to understand how people really make moral decisions.


Joshua Greene
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Comments [8]

SusanJMT from Cranford, NJ

I have often thought that the Ten Commandments have some obvious omissions. How much pain would have been avoided if a proscription against slavery was included. So basic, and so needed. Why omitted?

Dec. 30 2013 10:27 AM
Ed from Larchmont

It seems that we've thrown out the religious traditions, and even philosophical traditions, of human history as irrelevant. Then, like the case of Buffy does after they've left God and all order, they sing 'Where do we go from here?' Exactly.

Dec. 24 2013 01:08 PM
Ed from Larchmont

The claim is that the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount are recognizable to every human being.

Dec. 24 2013 12:45 PM
Ed from Larchmont

The person you could read is St. Thomas in the Summa Theologica, he (among others) has worked this out.

Religious authorities have good arguments, and philosophers. I'm not sure how much neurologists can say on these questions, except for giving some information.

Peter Singer - yuck.

There are values that hold for everyone, 'I shall write my law on their hearts'.

If you don't refer to an objective reality, what can one's morality be based on?

Dec. 24 2013 12:41 PM
Ed from Larchmont

Most people aren't trained in moral theology.

Dec. 24 2013 12:35 PM
Ed from Larchmont

I would settle for now for abortion to stop in the second and third trimesters, though the new mayor is a gung-ho pro-abortionist.

Would that we would go back to using reason and argument to decide what is moral and right.

Right, science has nothing to say about science. (Sam Harris - yuck.)

Dec. 24 2013 12:34 PM
Ed from Larchmont

That feelings are used to claim rights - that's very good, true. We've kind of run away from any kind of doctrine or argument or metaphysics. All we're left with is feelings, unless we accept a metaphysics.

Dec. 24 2013 12:31 PM
Ed from Larchmont

Every human being has a conscience, it's expressed for all in the Ten Commandments. Never met a human being who didn't have this sense, who hadn't suppressed it, or was terribly deprived.

Dec. 24 2013 12:29 PM

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