Special Programs

2010 Morality and the Mind

Over the past decade, cognitive scientists have begun to address morality as an aspect of human cognition. Is morality an inborn capacity? How much can it be influenced by culture? How much of it can be traced to our primate heritage?

Emerging results point to important questions for justice systems, economics, and diplomacy, such as: How should we define the notion of responsibility? How well do legal systems track moral intuitions? How much should they? When do economic incentives crowd out generous moral motives? How does one recognize and work around differences in moral systems, in politics and in diplomacy? What constraints does human nature impose on possible moral systems?

There has been little serious reflection on how these findings impact on policy; policy-makers are rarely aware that there is a cognitive science of morality. This two-day symposium creates an opportunity for leading cognitive scientists and policy makers to explore potential avenues of interaction.

Paul Bloom, Professor of Psychology, Yale University
Samuel Bowles, Research Professor and Director of the Behavioral Sciences Program, Santa Fe Institute
Robert Boyd, Professor of Anthropology, UCLA
Jack Blum, Chair, Tax Justice Network USA, former Senate investigator for the Senate Anti-Trust Subcommittee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Leon Fuerth, Director of the Project of Forward Engagement at The George Washington University, former National Security Advisor to Vice President Al Gore
Pervez Hoodbhoy, Professor of Physics, Quaid-e-Azam University (Pakistan)
Ray Jackendoff, Professor of Philosophy and Co-director of the Center for Cognitive Studies, Tufts University
Marcel Kinsbourne, Professor of Psychology, New School
John Mikhail, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law School
Gwyn Prins, Director, LSE Mackinder Programme for the Study of Long Wave Events, London School of Economics

Laurie Santos, Professor of Psychology, Yale University
Stephen Stich, Professor of Philosophy, Rutgers University
Michael Vlahos, Professor of Strategy, United States Naval War College