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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2016 Nov;1384(1):39-56. doi: 10.1111/nyas.13067. Epub 2016 Jun 1.

The moral animal: virtue, vice, and human nature.

Author information

1
Wisconsin Public Radio, Madison, Wisconsin.
2
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York.
3
Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
4
Skeptic Magazine, Altadena, California.
5
Chapman University, Orange, California.

Abstract

In Leo Tolstoy's famous novella, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, a rich and meaningful inner life is sacrificed in pursuit of material rewards and social status. How can we cultivate something intrinsic that transcends our worldly accomplishments? Assuming that a basic model or map of human nature is needed to navigate the road to the good life, what desires, tendencies, and aversions constitute our core nature? How has our evolutionary history shaped our moral impulses? Are we inherently good or fundamentally flawed? Steve Paulson, executive producer and host of To the Best of Our Knowledge, moderated a discussion with philosopher Christian Miller, neuroscientist Heather Berlin, and historian of science Michael Shermer to examine our moral ecology and its influence on our underlying assumptions about human nature.

KEYWORDS:

character; free will; honesty; morality; neuroscience; philosophy; the good life; virtue

PMID:
27248691
DOI:
10.1111/nyas.13067
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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