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Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality
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2012 > BSP 81: Interview with Patricia Churchland

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Ginger Campbell (GingerCampbell) | 252 comments Mod
BSP 81 will be coming out in a couple of weeks. It is a interview with philosopher Patricia Churchland, who previously appeared in BSP 55.

We will be discussing her recent book, Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality


Ginger Campbell (GingerCampbell) | 252 comments Mod
Here is a link to the show notes for BSP 81, which went online today.

Feel free to use this thread to talk about either Braintrus or the podcast.


message 3: by Roger (last edited Feb 02, 2012 08:28PM) (new)

Roger Morris (roger_morris) | 34 comments As Churchland is supposedly such a luminary in the field of moral philosophy, it was disappointing that a lay person such as myself could detect the basic error in her description of the moral argument for the existence of God as utilised by Christian moral philosophers.

To be clear, the claim made in this respect is NOT that morality in an individual is contingent on that person having a belief in God - particularly in a personal, transcendent, holy and just God. That is NOT the claim made by Christian philosophers.

The moral argument for the existence of God is that if a transcendent, personal, holy and just God like the God of the Christian faith (who embodies by their very nature the gold standard of all that is good, right, just and holy)does not exist, than there is no ontological or existential basis for objective morality. In the absence of such a God, there is no objective basis and standard by which to judge right/wrong, good/bad, just/unjust.

This is not contingent of the belief of an individual, but stands objectively outside individual opinion, and transcends the particular beliefs of the individual.

So in the example of the Buddhist, the Confuscianist the Taoist and in fact the atheist, any display of moral behaviour (and there is no doubt of the common examples of this) reflects a deep-seated echo of an innate human understanding of basic moral premises that reflect the image of God (imago Dei) that is imprinted in every human being (and neural wiring is no doubt a large part of this). John Calvin called this the 'sensis divinitatus' - the innate sense of the divine.

http://www.faithinterface.com.au/

For further reading:

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/docume...

Addit:

Upon reading my initial post, I am aware that what I am talking about more specifically is the expansion of the idea of the of Premise 1 of the traditional moral argument, that only God who is transcendent, personal, good, holy and just by His very nature could provide the proper ontological basis for objective morality.

Christian philosopher William Land Craig is well known for expounding the correct Christian approach to this argument:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbBfiK...


message 4: by Neurorehabguy (last edited Feb 02, 2012 05:56PM) (new)

Neurorehabguy | 3 comments Keep up the great work Ginger - I love your podcasts and have shared your site with many friends and colleagues.

For the last decade I've run a community rehab company that serves people recovering from ABI. More recently I have returned to finish a doctorate in neuroscience with a focus on recovery of function following abi and maintenance of cognitive functioning in aging. Listening to your podcasts was part of my inspiration to continue with my studies.


Ginger Campbell (GingerCampbell) | 252 comments Mod
Roger wrote: "As Churchland is supposedly such a luminary in the field of moral philosophy, it was disappointing that a lay person such as myself could detect the basic error in her description of the moral argu..."

Dr. Churchland's point was that there is a great diversity of ideas of morality between spiritual traditions. Eastern traditions do not necessarily contain a personal god, yet they certainly have moral standards.

Note also that she is not making any claims about "objective morality" since she clearly feels morality is a social phenomenum, which is an outgrowth of our nature as social animals. As a cultural phenomenum moraliy can evolve. People's attitudes toward slavery is a clear example of this.


Ginger Campbell (GingerCampbell) | 252 comments Mod
Neurorehabguy wrote: "Keep up the great work Ginger - I love your podcasts and have shared your site with many friends and colleagues.

For the last decade I've run a community rehab company that serves people recoverin..."


Neurorehabguy,

Thanks for joining this discussion. Feel free to introduce your self in here.


William | 1 comments Roger wrote: "As Churchland is supposedly such a luminary in the field of moral philosophy, it was disappointing that a lay person such as myself could detect the basic error in her description of the moral argu..."

One of the problems with this argument is the assumption that not only is there a god, but a personal god, who happens to agree with the believer. The establishment of a common belief helps hold a community together, which would explain why it is so difficult to leave the 'flock' so to speak.

The point that many religious people, in particular those who subscribe to a personal deity of sorts, simply don't understand that while many oriental beliefs are called 'religions', they are more like a philosophy or a way of life. The 'god' here does not attend to personal wants and desires, any more than letting things come around themselves.

It is somewhat disappointing in this day and age that someone would still twist facts about cultures they have little contact with to fit their own beliefs.


Michael | 1 comments Hi Dr. Campbell. I'd like to suggest you include on your list of 'Recommended Links/ NeuroscienceSites" the journal Nature Neuroscience's Neuropod site. It is located at http://www.nature.com/neurosci/neuropod/ Interviewing the authors of many of the articles published by the Journal that month their podcast is interesting, informative and as current as it gets.


Ginger Campbell (GingerCampbell) | 252 comments Mod
Michael wrote: "Hi Dr. Campbell. I'd like to suggest you include on your list of 'Recommended Links/ NeuroscienceSites" the journal Nature Neuroscience's Neuropod site. It is located at http://www.nature.com/neu..."

Good suggestion. I have listened to Neuropod since it began.

By the way I have started a new thread in the Neuroscience News Folder entitled What are your favorite neuroscience podcasts?


Ginger Campbell (GingerCampbell) | 252 comments Mod
William wrote: "Roger wrote: "As Churchland is supposedly such a luminary in the field of moral philosophy, it was disappointing that a lay person such as myself could detect the basic error in her description of ..."

William wrote: "Roger wrote: "As Churchland is supposedly such a luminary in the field of moral philosophy, it was disappointing that a lay person such as myself could detect the basic error in her description of ..."

Just to clarify: Churchland did not address the Christian argument for the existence of God, but she did challenge the Christian claim that their God is the source of morality.


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