Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Guy Kahane - Is, Ought, and the Brain

Guy Kahane (Deputy Director & Research Fellow, Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford) argues that Neuroscience, contra Sam Harris and Patricia Churchland, can play only a small role in the formation of a normative ethics.





Guy Kahane - Is, Ought, and the Brain


Abstract:

It would be nice to know more about what happens in our brains when we judge what we morally ought to do. But for normative ethics, this kind of scientific research is of interest only if it could tell us something new about what we ought to do. On this question, opinions are sharply divided. In this talk, I show how scientific claims about moral psychology can give non-trivial support to substantive claims in normative ethics. There are in fact several types of arguments that can validly take us from empirical findings to novel normative conclusions. It turns out, however, that these arguments leave only a fairly peripheral role to neuroscience.
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