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Moral Minds

Marc Hauser (HarperCollins: August 2006), 512 pages.

Marc Hauser’s eminently readable and comprehensive book Moral Minds is revolutionary. He argues that humans have evolved a universal moral instinct, unconsciously propelling us to deliver judgments of right and wrong independent of gender, education, and religion. Experience tunes up our moral actions, guiding what we do as opposed to how we deliver our moral verdicts. For hundreds of years, scholars have argued that moral judgments arise from rational and voluntary deliberations about what ought to be. The common belief today is that we reach moral decisions by consciously reasoning from principled explanations of what society determines is right or wrong. This perspective has generated the further belief that our moral psychology is founded entirely on experience and education, developing slowly and subject to considerable variation across cultures. In his groundbreaking book, Hauser shows that this dominant view is illusory. Combining his own cutting-edge research with findings in cognitive psychology, linguistics, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, economics, and anthropology, he examines the implications of his theory for issues of bioethics, religion, law, and our everyday lives. ~ Product Description

Table of Contents

    • Prologue : righteous voices
    • 1    What’s wrong?    1
    • 2    Justice for all    59
    • 3    Grammars of violence    111
    • 4    The moral organ    163
    • 5    Permissible instincts    242
    • 6    Roots of right    307
    • 7    First principles    357
    • Epilogue : the right impulse    419