Morality and the brain

Nowadays when we talk about morality and decision-making, I think we have to talk about the neural basis of it…

[Y]our senses of what’s moral or ethical or the right thing to do in a situation… gets served up by this lightning storm of electrical activity, and all we ever get is the end result. And it turns out the conscious mind is really the smallest bit of what’s happening in the brain and most of the stuff just gets fed up to you as an intuition about what’s right or wrong…

The more we understand about human behavior, the more we understand how people’s brains came to be the way they are from a very complicated intertwining of genetics and environment. It turns out that if free will exists, it’s really just a bit player in what’s going on in the brain and the reason is your genes, which you don’t choose, and your environment, including your in utero environment and all of your childhood experiences we don’t choose that these are the things that come together and make your brain the way it is and define a lot of the trajectory in your life. And if you have free will, it can only modulate something that’s already got a lot of momentum and direction.

eagleman audio
Morality and the brain | Philosophy Bites: David Eagleman

NeuroLaw research (website)

Initiative on Neuroscience and Law | David Eagleman