The Law and Neuroscience Project (along with the SAGE Center at UCSB) recently published A Judge's Guide to Neuroscience: A Concise Introduction. The useful manual contains articles by Marcus Raichle, Michael Gazzaniga, Adina Roskies, Read Montague, Scott Grafton, and others. And while it is aimed at judges, I think it might be useful for philosophers interested in these issues as well.
Manuel posted a link recently to a piece by Galen Strawson in the NYT's new The Stone series. Now, they have a non-skeptical piece on free will and science by William Eggington entitled "The Limits of the Coded World."
In May this year, the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics held a very successful conference bringing together philosophers, neuroscientists and psychologists to discuss the mechanisms involved in addiction and in the loss of self-control. The Science Network filmed some of the sessions (for various reasons, such as the use of patient information which had to remain confidential, some participants preferred not to be filmed). The videos from the conference are now available here. Anyone with a serious interest in addiction should watch them.
The past 30 years have seen a resurgence of interest in character, particularly in the areas of psychology, philosophy, and theology. This work has given rise to a number of challenging questions, such as:
(i) Do character traits such as honesty or compassion really exist?
(ii) If they do exist, how prevalent are they, and what is their underlying psychological nature?
(iii) Should character traits such as the virtues be the centerpiece of our best ethical theory?
(iv) How should we go about improving our characters and overcoming our character flaws?
(v) For those working in theology, should thinking about human and divine character be central to theological ethics?
Nicholas Iles asked me to pass along the following job advertisement (see here for more details):
Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Moral Cognition
FACULTY OF PHILOSOPHY, Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics
Grade 7: Salary £28,983 - £35,646 p.a.
Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship to work on a project that is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation, and jointly hosted by the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics (both of which are within the Faculty of Philosophy). The project is entitled Emotion and Intuition in Moral Decision-Making: Empirical Evidence and Ethical Implications.
The fellowship is for a fixed-term of two years from the date of appointment. The Research Fellow will be based at the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics, which is located at Littlegate House in central Oxford, where the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics is also based.
The Moral Psychology Handbook offers a survey of contemporary moral psychology, integrating evidence and argument from philosophy and the human sciences. The chapters cover major issues in moral psychology, including moral reasoning, character, moral emotion, positive psychology, moral rules, the neural correlates of ethical judgment, and the attribution of moral responsibility. Each chapter is a collaborative effort, written jointly by leading researchers in the field.
Psychopathy is a developmental disorder
that confers greatly increased risk to life-long behavioral problems.First, psychopaths are notoriously domineering, exploitative
of others, and deficient (or entirely lacking) in proper moral emotions such as
guilt, remorse, and empathy.They are also
stunningly hyper-aggressive, predatory, and recidivistic.Despite the fact that only about .05 to 1% of
the population is thought to be afflicted with psychopathy, some estimates
suggest that psychopathic individuals could nevertheless be responsible for as
much as 30%-40% of all violent crime.Furthermore,
psychopaths are prone to a number of interpersonal problems such as glibness,
self-grandiosity, pathological lying, manipulativeness, remorselessness,
shallow affect, callousness, and they usually refuse to take responsibility for
their actions, often choosing to blame their victims instead.Finally,
psychopaths lead a "chronically unstable and antisocial lifestyle"
(Hare et al. 1990, p. 340)—e.g., poor behavioral control, sexual promiscuity,
lack of realistic, long-term goals, impulsivity, early behavior problems, and