There is a forthcoming conference in March at College of the Holy Cross on Neuroscience, Evolution, and Morality. See here for more details.
How does what we are learning about the brain through neuroscience and evolutionary science influence how we ought to think about ethics? Recent advances in functional neuroimaging have increased scientists’ understanding of how our brains process moral decisions. Some thinkers suggest that moral decision making is fundamentally an intuitive or emotional process, and that what we call “reason” is a post-decision making method of justification for actions, not a “higher order” process for making decisions. If so, the new science challenges the principle of free will, the argument that reason is the foundation of moral decision making, and the importance of understanding intentions before judging responsibility for action. The potential implications for most Western ethical traditions are enormous.
This two-day conference will bring together some of the world’s leading neuroscientists, moral psychologists, ethicists, including:
Our own Michael Gazzaniga was recently honored with the opportunity to give the prestigious Gifford Lectures--joining the ranks of renowned thinkers ranging from William James and John Dewey to Hannah Arendt and Carl Sagan. Fortunately, his series of talks have been posted on-line. So, without further ado, you can find all of the lectures below the fold...
I recently stumbled upon the on-line transcripts from the 2004 meeting on Neuroethics by the President's Council on Bioethics. There are several interesting things to read. Here are the ones I found to be the most useful/illuminating (the full list is here):
As always, happy reading!
For those of you who missed the recent meeting of The Society for Neuroscience in Chicago, this year they introduced an exciting new feature called "Neuroblogging." In short, they officially commissioned certain blogs to cover the proceedings. A list of their preferred neurobloggers can be found here. Follow the links and you will find tons of interesting posts about the talks, posters, and discussions at the conference.
I just wanted to announce that Michael Pardo and Dennis Patterson have graciously agreed to participate in an on-line reading group here on The Law and Neuroscience Blog later this fall. We have yet to formally set the date, but once we do I will post the official dates and times. For now, I just wanted to say a few things about this exciting event. First, as many of you know, Pardo and Patterson have recently written two widely discussed papers which approach the gathering field of neurolaw with a very critical eye:
Both papers draw upon the earlier criticisms of neuroscience that were developed by neuroscientist M.R. Bennett and philosopher P.M.S. Hacker in their book entitled Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience. The critical stance adopted by Pardo, Patterson, Bennett, Hacker, and others has found a sympathetic audience. For just a sampling of favorable responses to their work on this front, see:
Of course, there is plenty of room for disagreement as well. For instance, Peter Reiner responds to Pardo and Patterson over at the Neuroethics and Law Blog.
Given how much discussion Pardo and Patterson have already generated, I am delighted to have them participate in a reading group here on the LANB. As I mentioned earlier, once we have settled on a time-frame for the event, I will post an update. In the meantime, I suggest that you download and read their pair of papers. Also, for those of you who are not familiar with the philosophy of Wittgenstein, you might consider downloading this paper by Hacker since it contains a helpful introduction to the kind of Wittgensteinian criticism of modern and contemporary psychology that Pardo and Patterson use in motivating their own criticisms of neurolaw.
The Fourth Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies will be held at the USC Gould School of Law in Los Angeles, California on Friday, November 20 and Saturday, November 21, 2009. The conference will feature original empirical and experimental legal scholarship by leading scholars from a diverse range of fields. The conference's objectives are:
The conference's audience will include paper presenters, commentators, and other attendees, and will include many of the nation's leading empirical legal scholars. The goal is productive discourse on both particular papers and appropriate methodologies.
- to encourage and develop empirical and experimental scholarship on legal issues by providing scholars with an opportunity to present and discuss their work with an interdisciplinary group of people interested in the empirical study of law; and
- to stimulate ongoing conversations among scholars in law, economics, political science, demographics, finance, psychology, sociology, and other disciplines.
Hopefully, we will see some of you there...