The Brain, the Mind and Ethics

Ethics in Light of Brain Physiology and Cognitive Psychology
by Helmut Schwab, Princeton, 2000, based on an essay from 1996

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Proto-ethical animal behavior has a genetic foundation expressed in the brain’s structure and biochemistry. Human morality in thought and behavior evolves through learning, own thought, and under biochemical influences, is in conflict with other motivations, and is expressed differently under different conditions or cultural settings. An understanding of this interrelationship should lead to an explanation of some common behavior and an approach to the more effective formation or pursuit of “values”, however these are defined at any given time.

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. The Neurophysiology of Animal Ethics
  3. Human Thought
  4. Human Drives
  5. Human Emotions
  6. Individuality through Individual Differences in the Brain
  7. Ethics
  8. Ethical Thought and Decision Making
  9. What Does the Functioning of the Human Brain Mean to Moral Philosophy?
  10. What Does the Functioning of the Human Brain Mean to Normative Ethics?
  11. Additional and Closing Comments