The New Science of Morality

Various authors, Edge, Sept 16, 2010
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This is a fascinating document that should probably be read by any person in the social professions, including teachers. It represents the significant advance in our understanding of morality that has resulted from discoveries made over the last 50 years. The consensus document is authored by some of the top moral philosophers of our time (though one would wish for a more international representation).

But it should not be read uncritically. The style is telling. Each point represents something that seems very clear (for example, "morality emerges from the interaction of multiple psychological building blocks within each person, and from the interactions of many people within a society") and when then is followed with a much more controversial kicker (such as "These building blocks are the products of evolution, with natural selection playing a critical role").

Be sure as well to read the series of commentaries on the consensus document. And if you have a lot of extra time, these Edge videos, on a variety of philosophical topics, are well worth your time. Think of them as TED for intellectuals.
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