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Hardwired Behavior: What Neuroscience Reveals about Morality Paperback – August 26, 2010
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Research in neuroscience has given serious doubt as to the axiomatic status of free will. Indeed, some researchers have dispensed with the notion all together, and have spoken of the "illusion" of conscious will. If one examines this research with an open but skeptical mind, one will discover a rich source of ideas, supported by empirical data that enable one to begin the construction of a system of ethics that is grounded entirely in neuroscience. The system has been referred to as `neuroethics', and has attracted the attention of some philosophers and many in the legal profession. Neuroethics is based on a profound and some might say frightening view of human nature and personal identity. But it has so far delivered on its (unstated) promise of giving a scientific foundation for ethics.
In this book the author gives a somewhat brief but helpful overview of neuroethics.Read more ›
This is part of a larger debate that is going on within psychiatry, psychology and the legal profession. As an example, at what age should a young person be able to drive a car or be legally liable for their decisions? The driving question comes up because the brain and nervous system of a fifteen-year-old is still far from being fully mature, and may lead to poor coordination and decision-making. Can an eighteen-year-old be held liable for his or her behavior, at a time that his or her brain is not fully formed? Yet he or she is able to fight for his or her country. Our answers to those questions are likely to be a mixture of political positions and personal experience. But now we also have to factor in our burgeoning knowledge about the brain. There seems no doubt that this explosion of knowledge about the brain will be factored into some future legal decisions.
In Tancredi's book, he applies knowledge derived from recent research to such traditional moral concerns as violence, sexual infidelity, lying and physical "excess." For anybody working in the field, it is very clear that hormones, nutritional status, drugs, genetic abnormalities, injuries and traumatic experiences all have profound effects on the structure and functioning of the brain. Therefore they may all have an impact on our moral choices. Some experimental work implies that our actions are initiated by pre-conscious and unconscious processes in the brain before we are consciously aware of them.Read more ›
Laurence Tancredi's, "Hardwired Behavior: What Neuroscience Reveals about Morality," provides an excellent, thorough investigation of the relationship between brain biology and "moral" actions. Current neuroscience research is moving farther away from the mind-brain dichotomy and instead suggesting that the physical brain has a major role in shaping our emotions. Tancredi examines how specific aspects of the brain determine moral thinking and repeatedly asks, "could it be possible that we are assigning too much power to `free will' and blaming the perpetrator, who may instead be a `victim' of his or her own biology?" (pg. 13)
The Moral Brain
The first four chapters examine the potential for a physical, biological basis for a "moral brain." First, Tancredi acknowledges that our current notions of morality and well-defined "evil" actions (i.e. murder, stealing, etc) are social constructs, which have evolved to promote stability in our community. Neuroscientific discoveries have been complicating these conclusions, however, by suggesting that certain aspects of our behavior are predetermined by physical aspects of our brain biology and genetics. Some early examples of this paradigm shift are the experiments of Libet, Platt, and Glimcher, whose research seems to diminish the concept of our free will over simple actions like moving our hand.
The fourth chapter provides an anatomical exploration of the brain, organized into the emotional brain (amygdala, hippocampus, the anterior cingulated cortex and the hypothalamus), the frontal lobes, the inhibitory networks, and the mirror-neuron system.
Bad Without Conscience
This chapter explores the troubled life of the serial killer Ricky Green, in an attempt to decipher his psychopathic personality.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Hardwired Behavior: What Neuroscience Reveals about Morality is a book about what new discoveries in neuroscience are showing about the ideas of "free will" and how the brain may... Read morePublished on December 14, 2012 by Troy
Hardwired Behavior: What Neuroscience Reveals about Morality by Laurence Tancredi
"Hardwired Behavior" is the very interesting book about the latest findings of... Read more
Exploring an apparent shift in emphasis away from the mental processes and cultural determinants underlying our understanding of moral stances, and instead focusing upon the... Read morePublished on June 17, 2011 by Anthony R. Dickinson
The author listed a resonable amount of facts and, I think, demonstrated convincingly that our actions (including decision making) are at least to a certain extent influenced by... Read morePublished on November 21, 2010 by W. Cheung
If you want to read one book that gives a comprehensive, understandable overview of how modern neuroscience is contributing to our understanding of human morality, this is the book... Read morePublished on October 7, 2010 by Sally K. Severino
I came across this book accidentally, and am delighted that I did. It is a well written, easy to read, and thorough treatise on the creation of moral human beings from the... Read morePublished on April 17, 2010 by Karin H. Krueger
This is a very thought-provoking book. We talk about its concepts all the time. My husband was reading it on an out-of-town trip and left it in his hotel room. Read morePublished on August 9, 2009 by Valerie from Kansas
Trancredi provides an excellent example of the confusion that the therapeutic class inflicts on those it presumably tries to help. Read morePublished on November 22, 2007 by D. S. Heersink
Tancredi projects that by 2100 the major mysteries of the brain will be solved. He presents what is known to date. Read morePublished on August 31, 2006 by Loves the View