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RE: [xmca] hardwired for morality?


While Churchland may be focusing on the "biological platform", her argument
seems to support concepts like Mike's prolepsis. Her statement "hardware and
software are intertwined" reads more to me like "learning and development
are intertwined". Her approach to biology and culture may be dialectical. I
have read more of Paul Churchland's work (Neurophilosophy at Work), but your
comment caught my attention and now I will have to check my assumptions. I
have to agree with Patricia in that the stuff of thinking can't happen
without the physiology of the body. 


-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On
Behalf Of Peter Smagorinsky
Sent: Wednesday, June 22, 2011 5:28 AM
To: 'eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity'
Subject: [xmca] hardwired for morality?

I got this link in my mailbox


An excerpt: "For people familiar with Churchland's work over the past four
decades, her desire to bring the brain into the discussion will come as no
surprise: She has long made the case that philosophers must take account of
neuroscience in their investigations. While Churchland's intellectual
opponents over the years have suggested that you can understand the
"software" of thinking, independently of the "hardware"-the brain structure
and neuronal firings-that produced it, she has responded that this metaphor
doesn't work with the brain: Hardware and software are intertwined to such
an extent that all philosophy must be "neurophilosophy." There's no other
way. Churchland, professor emerita of philosophy at the University of
California at San Diego, has been best known for her work on the nature of
consciousness. But now, with a new book, Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells
Us About Morality (Princeton University Press), she is taking her
perspective into fresh terrain: ethics. And the story she tells about
morality is, as you'd expect, heavily biological, emphasizing the role of
the peptide oxytocin, as well as related neurochemicals."


So, Mike and other UCSD-ers, are you familiar with Churchland? Seems she
never made it over to LCHC, where I suspect that she'd find people that
nurture matters as well as nature, and probably more. Vygotsky takes this
issue up in Vol. 2 of the Collected Works on Defectology. One example:

"While the earlier term moral insanity implied an incurable condition,
transferring these children into a different environment often shows that we
are dealing with a particularly keen sensitivity and that the deadening this
sensitivity is a means of self defense, of closing oneself off, and of
surrounding oneself with a biological defensive armor against environmental
conditions. In a new environment, such children display completely different
characteristics. Such results occur when children's characteristics and
activities are examined not in isolation, but in their relation to the
whole, in the dynamics of their development" (p. 38; emphasis in original)


I guess the nature/nurture dispute isn't going away any time soon. p

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