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Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense Of Right And Wrong
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Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense Of Right And Wrong

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  970 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
Marc Hauser evaluates recent developments in evolutionary biology, cognitive science, developmental psychology, economics and anthropology to provide a new way of understanding the tension between temptation and control.
Paperback, 539 pages
Published April 3rd 2008 by Abacus Software (first published August 22nd 2006)
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Brian Carnell
Mar 28, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book, but given the author's subsequent disgrace for faking research data, book is not trustworthy.
Marc Chéhab
There's an interesting set of moral dilemmas in this book, true. However, the author is proven to have fabricated data in his research (check wikipedia), which is THE capital sin in science and I therefore burnt the book.

Ok, I did not. But another interesting point is this: Hauser in this book attempts to argue that we got an innate moral grammar, like Chomsky's grammar of language. However, at this, he really fails even with fabricated evidence - so a double fail really.

I gave it two stars bec
Jun 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
My first Goodreads goes. Moral Minds is the latest book from Marc Hauser, a cognitive ethologist (for lack of a better or more accurate title) who has written widely on animal behavior, communication and cognition. His last book 'Animal Minds' made me want to read this one, and it's probably the most interesting book I've read so far this year.

In Moral Minds, Hauser sketches an outline for a theory of an innate moral capacity in humans. Using Noam Chomsky's theory of language in h
Kevin Saldanha
Dec 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
how evolution shaped our morals.. and religion destroyed them
Bob Nichols
Hauser argues that we have an innate moral faculty. Like the language instinct of Chomsky, a moral “organ” is built into our biology. Evidence for this he states is seen cross-culturally, in a universal propensity for fairness and reciprocity, and within young infants. As to what this moral faculty is, Hauser contrasts his favored Rawlsian position with Hume’s emotions and Kant’s pure logic, yet draws lessons from each. From Rawls, Hauser states that moral principles are innate and unconscious. ...more
Nov 27, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. What a beast.

I've read bigger, thicker, and denser nonfiction texts, but for some reason this book was one of those that just continually drew itself out. I fell back to all of the usual tactics involved in reading a book that just never fully engages you: pick up other books to read simultaneously, read it in short, 3-page segments, forced reading sessions with the primary goal of "just finishing it finally" ...

That said, I find it to be a little bit disappointing considering that this boo
Apr 28, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Explores the idea that, parallel to our natural language instinct, we ahve a moral instinct. Much reference to studies of children and their development between 3 and 5. Much loooking at non-human moral activities such as sharing, reciprocity, and evaluations for punishment. He believes, but cannot prove, that we have an essential moral grammar -- a capability and lean toward moral issues. But the content is like the distinct words that a child takes up as she lives with a particular language -- ...more
Matt Young
This book, to me, signals the empiricist taking the stage in an age-old philosophical battle. Is morality something we have been imbued with by evolution or is it something more mystical. Hauser -very persuasively- argues towards teh evolutionary side. Granted, this is new territory for science but they are making some headway. Although it is dry at times, you will walk away from this with a new outlook.
Sep 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We're reading this book in Dershowitz's class right now. It's a pretty interesting theory: the author contends that all of humanity is born with an innate and biological sense of morality, very similar to Noam Chomsky's belief in an innate and biological language structure. We're not finished yet, but so far, it's a very interesting theory that I'm not sure I'm entirely convinced by. Certainly worth reading.
Jan 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Sasha by: Gabriel Rodriguez
Shelves: favorites
This is an excellent book. Not only does it present a ton of information, it does so in a way that's accessible to everyone. Unlike others I'd discussed this book with, I actually enjoyed the pictures and simplified examples. It made for some lighter reading despite its delving into a question that is both scientifically valid and complicated in answer.
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My training is the biological sciences, but with broad interests in human nature, including its evolution. My writings, including academic and trade books, as well as over 200 scientific papers, cover the disciplines of animal behavior, evolutionary biology, neurobiology, cognitive neuroscience, biological anthropology, evolutionary psychology, linguistics, economics, cognitive development, and ph ...more
More about Marc Hauser...