Conscience: The Origins of Moral Intuition

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Product Details

W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date
6.2 X 9.2 X 1.0 inches | 1.15 pounds

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About the Author

Patricia Churchland is the author of Touching a Nerve: Our Brains, Our Selves. She is professor emerita of philosophy at the University of California, San Diego, and the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship.


A thoughtful, accessible, and enlightening book.
Patricia S. Churchland takes us on a fascinating journey intertwining philosophy from Socrates and Aristotle to Kant and Solzhenitsyn to the latest ideas in neuroscience, covering a vast span of knowledge in a graceful and appealing style that is spellbinding. A jewel among books about human nature.--Ann Graybiel, investigator at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT
Patricia S. Churchland has done it again! She wisely guides readers on a lively romp through recent research in neuroscience, genetics, evolution, psychology, psychiatry, anthropology, economics, politics, and philosophy in order to reach a more complete understanding of how and why we can get along despite our deep disagreements about what is wrong or right. This fun and fascinating journey shows why morality cannot be fully understood without the wide variety of perspectives and of scientific information that this tour de force provides.--Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, author of Think Again
No one blends philosophy and neuroscience as well as Patricia S. Churchland. Here she provides a much-needed correction to the usual emphasis on reasoning and logic in moral philosophy. Our judgements are guided by ancient intuitions and brain processes shared with other mammals.--Frans de Waal, author of Mama's Last Hug
Illuminating, entertaining and wise.--Nicholas A. Christakis
There are fascinating nuggets in the research Churchland cites...Her examples are varied and provocative.--Olivia Goldhill
Lucid, stimulating accounts of recent discoveries in neuroscience and psychology.--Sissela Bok
Informative, accessible, and engaging.--Glenn C. Altschuler
Conscience is an entertaining, erudite, and timely reminder of the neurobiological origins of those voices in our head telling us to behave. Moral philosophers, zealots and ideologues have been arguing for their versions of 'good' and 'bad' for millennia; now it's time for Patricia S. Churchland to remind us that morality doesn't come from a stone tablet or a logical axiom, but is rather one of Nature's inventions enabling our greatest superpower: sociality. It's messy, useful, and very human--like thumbs.--Blaise Agüera y Arcas, distinguished scientist, Google AI