Thursday, November 16, 2006

The neuroscience of moral decision making

Joshua Greene's Homepage: "Rationalist philosophers such as Plato and Immanuel Kant conceived of mature moral judgment as a rational enterprise, as a matter of appreciating abstract reasons that in themselves provide direction and motivation. In contrast to Plato and Kant, 'sentimentalist' philosophers such as David Hume and Adam Smith argued that emotions are the primary basis for moral judgment. In more recent years, the rationalist banner has been carried by developmental psychologists such as Lawrence Kohlberg. Likewise, some contemporary researchers, most notably Jonathan Haidt, have emphasized the importance of emotion in moral judgment. My research program aims at a synthesis of these two perspectives. In my experiments I present people with moral dilemmas that, if I'm right, elicit a complex combination of reasoned and emotional responses. "

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