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Me&theboys
08-05-2010, 12:38 PM
Participants: Roy Baumeister, Paul Bloom, Joshua D. Greene, Jonathan Haidt, Sam Harris, Marc D. Hauser, Josua Knobe, Elizabeth Phelps, David Pizarro
(What?? No Bob Wright???)

INTRODUCTION
By John Brockman

Something radically new is in the air: new ways of understanding physical systems, new ways of thinking about thinking that call into question many of our basic assumptions. A realistic biology of the mind, advances in evolutionary biology, physics, information technology, genetics, neurobiology, psychology, engineering, the chemistry of materials: all are questions of critical importance with respect to what it means to be human. For the first time, we have the tools and the will to undertake the scientific study of human nature.

This began in the early seventies, when, as a graduate student at Harvard, evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers wrote five papers that set forth an agenda for a new field: the scientific study of human nature. In the past thirty-five years this work has spawned thousands of scientific experiments, new and important evidence, and exciting new ideas about who and what we are presented in books by scientists such as Richard Dawkins, Daniel C. Dennett, Steven Pinker, and Edward O. Wilson among many others.

In 1975, Wilson, a colleague of Trivers at Harvard, predicted that ethics would someday be taken out of the hands of philosophers and incorporated into the "new synthesis" of evolutionary and biological thinking. He was right.

Scientists engaged in the scientific study of human nature are gaining sway over the scientists and others in disciplines that rely on studying social actions and human cultures independent from their biological foundation.

No where is this more apparent than in the field of moral psychology. Using babies, psychopaths, chimpanzees, fMRI scanners, web surveys, agent-based modeling, and ultimatum games, moral psychology has become a major convergence zone for research in the behavioral sciences.

So what do we have to say? Are we moving toward consensus on some points? What are the most pressing questions for the next five years? And what do we have to offer a world in which so many global and national crises are caused or exacerbated by moral failures and moral conflicts? It seems like everyone is studying morality these days, reaching findings that complement each other more often than they clash.

JB

http://www.edge.org/

ENJOY!

bjkeefe
08-07-2010, 01:42 AM
Participants: Roy Baumeister, Paul Bloom, Joshua D. Greene, Jonathan Haidt, Sam Harris, Marc D. Hauser, Josua Knobe, Elizabeth Phelps, David Pizarro
(What?? No Bob Wright???)



http://www.edge.org/

ENJOY!

Thanks for the heads-up, Me&, and stop being such a stranger!

Also, Sam Harris (http://twitter.com/SamHarrisOrg/status/20529650325) just tweeted:

This was a fun conference:. Scroll down for video of the sessions: RT @edge (http://twitter.com/edge): "The New Science of Morality" http://bit.ly/bNMNSb

(bit.ly link expanded (http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/morality10/morality10_index.html))

JonIrenicus
08-08-2010, 01:30 AM
Pretty good so far, on the Hauser talk right now and one of his case descriptions deals with people who have their amygdala calcified and essentially taken out of commission.

The result is that they reject all consequential calculations of morality. If harm is caused, they reject an action, no matter what else might happen. He says their calculations are much more rule based at that point, principle for its own sake sort of thing, unmoored to any results in the real world, uncaring/unfeeling about the potential bad of inaction or action if either results in any kind of direct harm.


Makes me wonder about pacifists like wonderment... Get your amygdala checked man !!!!!!!

I bring this up out of kindness and genuine concern.

JonIrenicus
08-08-2010, 04:21 PM
For those who have not bothered yet, pay close attention to Sam's talk and the question period afterward where he is challenged, particularly by Haidt on whether or not the project of passing judgments or right and wrong in the moral space is doable or if things are more transient, dependent on a particular culture or mode of looking at things.

Haidt is all description while Sam wants both that AND ability and tools to judge certain beliefs and practices as right or wrong. Or at the very least be able to say that some solutions people come up with for their morality can be better or worse than other solutions for addressing peoples problems and encouraging their well being and "flourishing."



I think that is the correct position, It is a view flexible enough to accommodate different moral frameworks and judge several as functional and beneficial, while retaining the capacity to call certain systems and beliefs BAD, destructive, as contributing to human misery.

That when we are faced with the latter, we are able to muster more than the common secular response of a neutered dog of "no comment" when it comes to passing judgment.

Me&theboys
09-03-2010, 03:31 PM
Even though I initiated this thread a month ago, I am only now getting around to listening to the presentations. During that month, Hauser's talk has been withdrawn and I am unable to find the post-presentation discussions, such as the one you refer to after Harris's talk. Are you still able to access the discussion portion? If so, would you mind sending me a link to it?

Thanks!

Ocean
09-03-2010, 03:51 PM
Even though I initiated this thread a month ago, I am only now getting around to listening to the presentations. During that month, Hauser's talk has been withdrawn and I am unable to find the post-presentation discussions, such as the one you refer to after Harris's talk. Are you still able to access the discussion portion? If so, would you mind sending me a link to it?

Thanks!

I've been subscribed to Edge for the last couple of years. In their last email (Edge 325) they announced that Hauser withdrew his contribution to the conference. I looked but I can't find the discussions either.

You may already have the link but here is Edge 325 (http://www.edge.org/documents/archive/edge325.html).