CARTA: Is the Human Mind Unique? – Patricia Churchland: Moral Sense
Premiere Date: 5/3/2013; 20 minutes

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Morality is a social behavior seen in mammals, and some birds, which depends on an interlocking brain organization shaped by four factors. Patricia Churchland (UC San Diego) discusses how the importance of these factors can vary between species, as a function of natural selection operating on subcortical structures, and of the degree of flexibility of the cortical organization. For example, increased capacity for impulse control is a feature of frontal brain expansion. Social benefits are accompanied by social demands; we have to get along, but not put up with too much. Hence impulse control being aggressive or compassionate or indulgent at the right time is hugely advantageous. In different contexts and cultures, expression of sociality may vary, as local factors limit solutions to the social problems of getting along and prospering despite competition between individuals. (#24985)

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