Conscience

The Origins of Moral Intuition
Narrated by: Suzie Althens
Length: 7 hrs and 1 min
4.2 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In Conscience, Patricia S. Churchland, the distinguished founder of neurophilosophy, explores how moral systems arise from our physical selves in combination with environmental demands. 

All social groups have ideals for behavior, even though ethics vary among different cultures and among individuals within each culture. In trying to understand why, Churchland brings together an understanding of the influences of nature and nurture. She looks to evolution to elucidate how, from birth, our brains are configured to form bonds, to cooperate, and to care. Conscience delves into scientific studies, particularly the fascinating work on twins, to deepen our understanding of whether people have a predisposition to embrace specific ethical stands. Research on psychopaths illuminates the knowledge about those who abide by no moral system and the explanations science gives for these disturbing individuals. 

Churchland then turns to philosophy - that of Socrates, Aquinas, and contemporary thinkers like Owen Flanagan - to explore why morality is central to all societies, how it is transmitted through the generations, and why different cultures live by different morals. Her unparalleled ability to join ideas rarely put into dialogue brings light to a subject that speaks to the meaning of being human.

©2019 Patricia S. Churchland (P)2019 Tantor

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Started out well

The book started out strong with interesting science, but became more vague and less interesting as a book went on. She also did not seem to do much justice to the topic of free will as an illusion and its implications. I found the science of Robert Sapolsky and the philosophy of Sam Harris to have more direction in their respective works than Churchland did in this book.

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Made me think

a highly engaging book that should be used as a springboard to research the vast and varied world of consciousness. there are times when the author surely rubs the philosophical Elite the wrong way, and for that I applaud her.