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Patricia Churchland: Social Conscience

This episode of LIVE At the Lab explores the source of human morality. Moral decisions may go deeper than social conventions. Neurophilosophy, the art of applying philosophy to brain research, is helping scientists understand the origin of morality and why humans are so social. Patricia Churchland is a Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at University of California, San Diego and Adjunct Professor at the Salk Institute. She founded neurophilosophy, and was the speaker for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s 2020 Lorraine Grace Lectureship on societal issues of biomedical research. In her talk, she delves into how our brains are built to connect to and care for one another, and how we might be predisposed to find certain political and social norms more attractive. Churchland has authored several influential books on understanding the nature of conscience and social bonding. Her pioneering work has earned her multiple awards including the MacArthur Prize, the Rossi Prize for Neuroscience, and the Prose Prize for Science. She has also held several prestigious positions including president of the American Philosophical Association, and the Society for Philosophy and Psychology.

Read the related story: LIVE At the Lab with Patricia Churchland: Social Conscience