Patricia Churchland on The Colbert Report

Neurophilosopher Patricia Churchland tries to explain the existence of neurological bases for morality in the brain chemistry underlying social attachments to a skeptical Stephen Colbert. I appreciate that given the complexity and seriousness of what she was trying to get across he didn’t interrupt and derail her nearly as much as he does with others who his character is prone to antagonize. I took the latitude he gave her to finish her points was a sign of his respect for the challenge she had in getting such complicated, worthwhile answers out in a short span of time (which she did a marvelous job of doing).

Churchland’s new book is the tantalizingly titled Touching a Nerve: The Self as Brain. Her 2011 book exploring what neuroscience has to offer to our understanding of the neurological basis of social moral life is Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality.

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.