Download Braintrust - What Neuroscience Tells Us About Morality - P. Churchland (Princeton, 2011) WW PDF

TitleBraintrust - What Neuroscience Tells Us About Morality - P. Churchland (Princeton, 2011) WW
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LanguageEnglish
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Table of Contents
                            Patricia S. Churchland - Braintrust
	Contents
	List of Illustrations
	1. Introduction
	2. Brain-Based Values
		But Surely Only Humans Are Moral?
	3. Caring and Caring For
		Family Values: Belonging and Wanting to Belong
		Mate Attachment
		The Mechanisms of Mate Attachment
		What Else besides Oxytocin?
		Male Parenting
		What Is the Connection between Attachment and Morality?
	4. Cooperating and Trusting
		What Exactly Is Cooperation in Mammals?
		Cooperation in Mammals: A Few Examples
		Trust and Oxytocin: What Do We Know about Its Effects on Humans?
		Punishment and Cooperativity
		The Effect of Social Tension on Cooperativity
		Evolution and Human Cooperation
	5. Networking: Genes, Brains, and Behavior
		Genetic Networks
		Innate Moral Principles and Innate Moral Foundations
		Jonathan Haidt and Moral Foundations
	6. Skills for a Social Life
		Social Knowledge, Social Learning, Social Decision-Making
		Learning Social Skills
		Acquiring a Conscience
		Attributing Mental States to Self and Others
		Mirror Neurons and Mental Attribution (Theory of Mind)
		Humans, Intentions, and Mirror Neurons
		Mirroring and Empathy
		Imitation and “Mirror Neurons”
		Theory of Mind, Autism, and Mirror Neurons
		Imitation, Unconscious Mimicry, and Social Capacities
	7. Not as a Rule
		Kant and His Categorical Imperative
		Consequentialism and Maximizing Utility
		Facts about Rule Use
		Normativity and the Moral “Ought”
		The Naturalistic Fallacy
	8. Religion and Morality
		Conscience and Morality
		Morality and Religion
		Does This Mean Morality Is an Illusion?
		Morality, Trust, and Cultural Niche Construction
	Notes
		1. Introduction
		2. Brain-Based Values
		3. Caring and Caring For
		4. Cooperating and Trusting
		5. Networking
		6. Skills for a Social Life
		7. Not as a Rule
		8. Religion and Morality
	Bibliography
	Acknowledgments
	Index
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 2

braintrust

Page 143

130 • Chapter 6

to them. When we began walks on the golf course, I expected to have
to train Duff and Farley as I had the first pair. They did not need train-
ing from me, however, and simply did not go on the greens or into the
traps. This behavior continued unchanged even after Max died a few
months later. I never did see anything that I could definitely identify
as imitative behavior, so if indeed they copied Max, it must have been
somewhat subtle.

Learning Social Skills

Born with very immature brains, human juveniles are dependent on
parents and willing others for an extended period. The benefit of im-
maturity at birth is that developing brains can exploit interactions with
the environment to tune themselves up to the myriad ways of whatever
physical and social world they find themselves in. Playing in those
worlds, fooling around and goofing off, can lead to discoveries that are
useful. Play in young predators is clearly associated with behavior they
will later hone for killing prey, mating, and defending themselves.31
From the perspective of evolution, learning has clear advantages in
efficiency and flexibility over having it all “built in.”32

In all highly social mammals, juveniles must learn to get along in
the group, first with their mother and father, later with siblings, cous-
ins, and so forth. The teething infant learns not to bite the mother’s
breast, the toddler learns to avoid the cantankerous uncle, children
must learn to take turns, tolerate frustration, play fair, do their chores
and so forth.

Acquiring a Conscience

As we grow up, we get approval for conforming to, and disapproval
for transgressing against, social practices, and we feel pleasure or pain

Page 144

Ski l ls for a Social L i fe • ���

accordingly.33 Early moral learning is organized around prototypes of
behavior, and relies on the reward system to make us feel emotional
pain in the face of some events (e.g., stealing), and emotional joy in
the face of others (e.g., rescuing).34 Through example, the child comes
to recognize the prototype of fairness, rudeness, bullying, sharing, and
helping. His understanding is also shaped by the clan’s gossip, fables,
and songs. As philosopher Simon Blackburn remarks,

The emotional and moral environment in which children
grow up is pervasive and many- faceted, carefully engineered
by their caregivers, replete with soap operas, stories, sagas and
gossip full of villains and heroes, retailed with smiles and
frowns and abundant signs of esteem and dislike, and gradually
entered by practise, imitation, correction, and refinement.35

Once a child has internalized local practices and knows what is
expected, merely contemplating cheating or stealing is likely to be ac-
companied by images of consequences, and when those include so-
cial disapproval, the pain system will be active, if only in a low- level
fashion. One might say that the child thus recognizes that the plan is
wrong, or that his conscience tells him that doing the action would be
wrong (figure 3.8, page 51, shows the reward system).
Because the generalized pain of shunning and disapproval is so
aversive, and the pleasure of approval and belonging so rewarding,
what is learned regarding social practices has a correspondingly strong
emotional valence. So strong are these feelings about what is right and
wrong that they may be regarded as having the status of divine origin,
and the practices, as objective and universal. The practices of one’s
own clan can appear to be absolute and rational; differing practices
can appear to be barbaric and irrational.
On the whole, the internalization of social standards via the reward/
punishment system probably serves human social groups quite well.
Individuals will risk quite a lot, sometimes even their lives, in defense

Page 285

272 • Index

social practices (continued)
and, 129; complexity of, 118–21, 127–29,
132–34, 139–43; conscience acquisition
and, 130–32; cooperation and, 11 (see also
cooperation); cultural niche construc-
tion and, 201–4; exchange of goods and,
19–20; fear and, 126, 134, 137, 148,
150–52; game theory and, 64, 71–76,
82–86; Golden Rule and, 113, 168–73;
hormones and, 159; human nature and,
2–6, 18–29, 44, 58, 94–95, 104, 119, 166,
175, 186–90, 196, 201–2; hunter- gatherer
groups and, 21, 24, 65, 128; hypothala-
mus and, 119; imitation and, 9, 19, 60,
94, 128–31, 149, 154–61, 163, 166, 192;
intelligence and, 118–19, 142, 156; kin
and, 8–9, 128 (see also kin); learning and,
127–34, 139–40, 144–45, 153, 155, 158,
161; market integration and, 64–65; mate
attachment and, 46–53, 58, 91; matriline
and, 32, 127; meerkats and, 14, 24, 129;
mental attribution and, 132–45, 148; mir-
ror neurons and, 127, 135–56; monkeys
and, 119, 122, 129, 134–38, 145–47, 154;
neuroscience of, 119–27, 135–56, 162;
normativity and, 185–86; offspring and,
153; pain and, 118–19, 130–31, 134,
149–52, 160; philosophical approach to,
2–3 (see also philosophy); prefrontal cor-
tex (PFC) and, 119–26; problem- solving
and, 7–9, 12, 18–23, 26, 59–60, 65, 68,
71, 88, 103–4, 108, 114, 123, 163–66, 190,
193–95, 198, 202–4; prosperity and, 132;
punishment and, 81–86; representational
practices and, 133–34; respect and, 87, 92,
112, 179; rules and, 126, 138, 162; self-
preservation and, 13, 27, 30–31, 35, 46;
shunning and, 6, 60, 81, 131, 192; stabil-
ity and, 132; status quo and, 163; strength
of will and, 126–27; survival and, 158; ten-
sor diffusion imaging (TDI) and, 120–21;
territorial chorusing and, 69; tribes and,
24, 64, 90, 93, 103, 188; trust and, 1, 11,
56, 61–94, 129, 159–61, 180, 184, 201–4;
truth- telling and, 107–9, 112–13, 116,
144, 168, 181, 190; unconscious mimicry
and, 127, 156–61; values and, 12–26

social tension, 86–89
sociopaths, 40, 172
Socrates, 6, 112–13; charges against, 195;

morality and, 193–96; rules and, 178
Solomon, Robert, 165, 185

sorrow, 37, 39, 167
Souter, David, 167
Soviet Union, 65
spinothalamic tract, 37
stability, 6; caring and, 59; cooperating and,

64, 72–73; rules and, 164, 190 (see also
rules); social skills and, 132; values and, 12

Stalinism, 65
stealing, 1, 131, 184
stem cell research, 204
Stewart, Jon, 134
Stoics, 113
Stone Age, 21
strength of will, 126–27
Suhler, Christopher, 217n43
supernaturalism, 6, 191, 193, 196–99
survival, 207n4; brain- based values and, 13;

cannibalism and, 25; caring and, 27–32,
44, 47; cooperation and, 90; fight- or- flight
response and, 29, 50, 78; food and, 8, 18,
20, 22, 28, 43–45, 57, 61, 64, 67, 87–92,
107, 114, 135, 138–39; gathering and, 21,
24, 64–65, 93–94, 128; hunting and, 7, 14,
21, 24, 33, 64–65, 69–70, 90–94, 103, 128,
140, 168, 204; lactase and, 21; multiple
fathers and, 90; networking and, 107; reli-
gion and, 198; reproduction and, 12–14,
24, 32–33, 56–57, 90, 97, 128; rules and,
176, 184, 189; self- preservation and, 13,
27, 30–31, 35, 36, 46; social practices and,
158; territorial chorusing and, 69; trust
and, 90; utility maximization and, 175–81

Swaggart, Jimmy, 197
syllogisms, 6

Taoism, 198, 201
technology: cultural practices and, 60, 94;

evolution and, 16–22; learning, 60; tool-
making and, 16–17, 19

televangelists, 197
temperament, 6, 10, 21, 24, 31, 52–53,

86–89, 93, 102, 128
temporal lobe, 109
Ten Commandments, 184, 197–98
tend- and- befriend response, 78
tensor diffusion imaging (TDI), 120–21
territorial chorusing, 69
thalamus, 37
theory of mind, 202; alien hand syndrome

and, 143; autism and, 154–56; caring and,
45; cooperation and, 76–77; intentions

Openmirrors.com

Page 286

Index • 273

and, 135–48; mental attribution and,
135–45, 148; mirror neurons and, 135–45;
representational practices and, 134; sac-
cadic shift and, 144; self- knowledge and,
142–45, 148; simulation and, 137–42,
145, 148, 226n48; social practices and,
127, 134–45, 154–56

To Kill A Mockingbird (Lee), 192
Tost, Heike, 52–53
tragedy of the commons, 203–4
trial and error, 9, 94, 128
trial by battle, 205n1
trial by jury, 19, 164
trial by ordeal, 1–2, 164, 205n1
tribes, 24, 64, 90, 93, 103, 188
trust, 1, 56; attachment and, 65, 71, 78, 91;

borderline personality disorder (BPD)
and, 72–74; cultural niche construction
and, 201–4; cultural practices and, 94;
fear and, 63, 77–78, 87, 89; Golden Rule
and, 113, 168–73; institutions and, 65,
201–4; intelligence and, 11; kin and,
63–65, 70, 82, 87, 90–94, 202; Kosfeld
experiment and, 71–72; learning and, 65,
71, 76, 88, 94; offspring and, 69–70, 76,
90, 94; oxytocin and, 63–64, 71–82, 91;
religion and, 201–4; rules and, 82, 180,
184; social practices and, 129, 159–61;
survival and, 90; trade and, 65; tragedy
of the commons and, 203–4; vasopressin
and, 64, 71, 77–78, 81, 91

Trust (game), 71–73
truth, 107–9, 112–13, 116, 144, 168, 181,

190
Tucker, Don, 45
Tutsis, 106
twin studies, 41–42

Ukrainians, 106
Ultimatum (game), 64, 75–76
universality, 106–7
University of California, 22
University of Parma, 135–39
utility maximization, 175–81

vagus nerve, 42–44, 102
values, 3, 9–10, 207n13; attachment and, 12,

16, 23; brain- based, 12–26; caring and,
13–14, 30, 33–46, 62; competition and, 14,
21–24; cooperation and, 13, 16; courage

and, 23, 25, 103, 112–13, 115, 191–92;
cultural practices and, 12; family, 33–46;
fear and, 15–16; Haidt theory and, 112–16;
ideologies and, 4, 172–73, 180; institutions
and, 12, 20, 22, 24; intelligence and, 19;
kin and, 12, 14, 21, 26; learning, 15–18,
22–23; loyalty and, 92, 112, 115; moral
ought and, 4–8, 165, 170, 173–76, 181–90,
206n2; Naturalistic Fallacy and, 186–90;
neuroscience and, 13–16; oxytocin and,
14–15; pain and, 15–16, 98; Plato and,
104; prosperity and, 18, 20; purity and,
112, 114; respect and, 87, 92, 112, 179;
rules and, 23–26, 163, 166, 172, 186–89;
sanctity and, 112, 114; self- preservation
and, 13, 27, 30–31, 35, 46; social life and,
12–26; source of, 12–13; truth- telling and,
107–9, 112–13, 116, 144, 168, 181, 190;
wanting to belong and, 33–46; wisdom
and, 6, 96, 112–13, 132, 164, 184, 194–95,
198–99

vasopressin, 201–2; argonine (AVP), 31–33,
48–59, 64, 77–78, 81, 102, 214n71; caring
and, 31–33, 48–59; cooperation and, 64,
71, 77–78, 81, 91; gender and, 77–78, 81;
males and, 54; networking and, 102; trust
and, 64, 71, 77–78, 81, 91

ventral pallidum, 49, 55
vices, 2, 103, 105
vitamin D, 108
voles, 214n71; caring and, 46–58; coopera-

tion and, 64, 70, 78–79

Wall Street bonuses, 197
warfare, 3, 92–93, 106, 198, 205n1
Washington Post, 167
Westmoreland, Lynn, 184
Whiten, Andrew, 129
Wicker, Bruno, 149
Wilson, Suzanne, 58
wisdom, 6; genetic networks and, 96,

112–13; religion and, 198–99; rules and,
164, 184; social practices and, 132

witches, 1–2
wolves, 7, 30–32

Zak, Paul, 75–76
zenk gene, 102
Zeus, 196
Zimbardo, Philip, 110

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