The Moral Sense
ISBN: 0684833328
EAN13: 9780684833323
Language: English
Publication Date: Nov 6, 1997
Pages: 336
Dimensions: 1" H x 8.4" L x 5.4" W
Weight: 0.7 lbs.
Format: Paperback
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Book Overview

Are human beings naturally endowed with a conscience? Or is morality artificially acquired through social pressure and instruction? Most people assume that modern science proves the latter. Further, most of our current social policies are based upon this scientific view of the sources of morality. In this book, however, James Q. Wilson seeks to reconcile traditional ideas with a range of important empirical research into the sources of human behavior over the last fifty years. Marshalling evidence drawn from diverse scientific disciplines, including animal behavior, anthropology, evolutionary theory, biology, endocrinology, brain science, genetics, primatology, education and psychology, Wilson shows that the facts about the origin and development of moral reasoning are not at odds with traditional views predating Freud, Darwin and Marx. Our basic sense of right and wrong actually does have a biological and behavioral origin. This moral sense arises from the infant's innate sociability, though it must also be nurtured by parental influence. Thus, this book revives ancient traditions of moral and ethical argument that go back to Aristotle, and reunifies the separate streams of philosophical and scientific knowledge that for so long were regarded as unbridgeable.

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