September 2014

Theological Correctness Part II: An Answer

The question in Part I was: what is the nature of religious credence (or “belief”) as a psychological state? And a puzzle arose because neither the simple model nor the cynical model of religious “belief” was adequate.

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Second-Guessing Ourselves

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Machiavelli

The Italian political philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli is revered by some for being an astute thinker, a pragmatic visionary, and a champion of republican liberty. He is reviled by others for writing a manual for unscrupulous leaders everywhere, teaching them to do whatever it takes to defeat their enemies and stay in power, no matter how cruel or ruthless their actions might be.

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Babies and the Birth of Morality

One of the many questions on the subject is whether morality is innate or learned. If you want to answer that question, what better place to begin than with babies? Well, you might be skeptical that newborns, of all people, have something to teach us about the nature of morality. It’s not like newborns face a lot of deep moral dilemmas -- “Should I laugh at the big guy making the silly faces at me or should I cry?”

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Neuroscience and the Law

This week, our topic is neuroscience and the law. Neuroscience is revolutionizing our understanding of how the brain works. In the process it is challenging ago-old ways of thinking about crime and punishment. Some neuroscientists even say that it’s time to completely rethink our judicial system in light of their discoveries. That’s because our current legal system presupposes a certain picture of how the mind works that many neuroscientist now believe is almost entirely wrong.

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