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A Science of Human Nature?

Philosophical Disputes at the Interface of Natural and Social Science

Studying at Cambridge

Upcoming event: The Biology of Morality

last modified Jul 14, 2016 08:26 PM

The biology of morality

Professor Tim Lewens and Dr Molly Crockett at Latitude Festival 2016

Wellcome Trust Hub, Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk

Sunday 17th July


Are you a moral person?  Are you a vengeful person? Professor Tim Lewens and leading neuroscientist Dr Molly Crockett will help us to evaluate our own morality and altruism. 

Blaise Pascal described human beings as “the glory and scum of the universe”. Each of us carries blueprints for an astonishing range of social behaviours, from the heroic to the atrocious. Dr Molly Crockett and her work at the Crockett Lab in the Department of Experimental Psychology at Oxford University seeks to understand this paradox by investigating the psychological and neural mechanisms of social decision-making and impression formation. Drawing from recent research in social psychology, behavioural economics, and neuroscience, she’ll be explaining how we make moral decisions and how we work out whether others are moral or not. 

Joining Molly to discuss the biology of morality is Tim Lewens, Professor of Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge. He will explain that today’s best research on evolution, empathy and altruism endorses a image of human goodness, but the story is not all rosy: in particular, our capacity for empathy might not be the cure-all that prominent politicians and campaigners sometimes imagine it to be, and he’ll be explaining exactly why.

See here for further information.