December 13, 2006

A Moral Grammar?

Interesting podcast from Australia’s All in the Mind about the evolution of morality. See their description below:

“Moral Minds: The Evolution of Human Morality
“Incest, infanticide, honour killings - different cultures have different rules of justice. But are we all born with a moral instinct - an innate ability to judge what is right and wrong? Could morality be like language - a universal, unconscious grammar common to all human cultures? Eminent evolutionary biologist Marc Hauser and philosopher Richard Joyce take on these controversial questions in impressive new tomes, and to critical acclaim. But could their evolutionary arguments undermine the social authority of morality? Is biology the new 'religion'? “

I’ve seen Marc Hauser speak (thanks, Hampshire!) and he’s very interesting. He’s got an online Moral Sense Test where he and his team at Harvard’s Cognitive Evolution Lab “study … the nature of human moral judgment.” I won’t tell you about the moral dilemmas presented in the test, but they are challenging! See for yourself.

You can download the podcast or read the transcript from All in the Mind.

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