Free Will in the Age of Neuroscience
Friday, January 20, 2017, 4:00 pm, 500 Hall of LanguagesAbstract: Philosophers have long struggled with the problem of free will; more recently neuroscientists have claimed to be able to speak to this longstanding problem. I review some of the recent work in neuroscience that purports to bear on the problem of free will, and argue that although neuroscience can contribute to our understanding, it cannot resolve the problem of free will without recourse to philosophy.
The Best Things in Life
Sunday, October 26, 2014, 7:00 pm, Temple Adath Yeshurun, 450 Kimber Road, Dewitt, New YorkThis presentation asks what aspects of our lives are good in themselves, or by themselves make life worth living. Against those philosophers who've argued that there's just one ultimate good, often pleasure or knowledge, it argues that there are many, including pleasure, knowledge, achievement, virtue, and love. It also discusses what each good involves and what makes it valuable.
'More Seriously Wrong'
Monday, October 27, 2014, 1:00 pm, 304 Tolley Building, Syracuse University (reception to follow)Common-sense morality thinks that among acts that are wrong some are more seriously wrong than others; thus murder is more seriously wrong than breaking a trivial promise. This paper examines what makes an act more seriously wrong and argues that the answer is different for different types of wrong act. It also asks whether there's a parallel concept of more important rightness.
Does Neuroscience Undermine Moral Responsibility?
Sunday September 29, 2013, 7:00 pm, Temple Adath Yeshurun, 450 Kimber Road, Dewitt, New York
Many religions claim that humans at least sometimes have free will and are morally responsible. Neuroscience is often seen as challenging these assumptions. However, when free will and responsbility are properly understood, neuroscience does not really undermine free will or responsibility in general. Instead, what neuroscience challenges is only responsibility in particular cases, which are fascinating and important but do not generalize to all human action.
Are Psychopaths Morally Responsible?
Monday September 30, 2013, 4:00 pm, 500 Hall of Languages, Syracuse University
Psychopaths are less than 1% of the general population but commit over 30% of violent crime in the United States. In addition to these practical problems, psychopaths also raise fascinating theoretical issues about the limits of human nature and morality. In particular, we need to determine whether psychopaths are morally responsible, which depends in part on whether they appreciate the moral wrongfulness of what they do. Recent scientific research has revealed surprising facts about psychopaths and their moral judgments, and these discoveries point to new ways to handle and treat psychopaths.
Both events are free and open to the public, and are presented in conjunction with SU’s Department of Philosophy and College of Arts and Sciences.
Contact Roberta Hennigan, firstname.lastname@example.org, 315-443-4501 for further information.