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Friday, May 31, 2019

Can Science Explain Morality?

Charles Glenn
National Review
Originally published May 2, 2019

Here is an excerpt:

Useful as these studies can be, however, they leave us with a diminished sense of the moral weight of human personhood. Right and wrong, good and evil, and so forth are human constructs that derive from human evolutionary history, the cognitive architecture of human language, neurochemistry and neuroanatomy, and contingent human interests. Thus the fundamental source of morality is not outside human experience and biology. There are no real rights, duties, or valuable things out in the world. The nature and quality of moral attitudes — thinking, feeling, or believing that something is either moral or immoral — can be explained psychologically and culturally.

That is, good and evil have no anchor in the basic structure and significance of our existence (indeed, existence itself has no significance) but are entirely contingent. This leaves us in a vacuum of purpose, one that we can easily see reflected in the hedonistic confusion of contemporary culture. “Are there really things we should and shouldn’t do beyond what would best serve our interests and preferences?” we might well ask. “Are some things valuable in an objective sense, beyond what we happen to want or care about?”

The information is here.