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Appiah, On Morality

Appiah, On Morality

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

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Kwame Anthony Appiah. Source: Denise Applewhite hide caption

toggle caption Source: Denise Applewhite

As I read Kwame Anthony Appiah's new book, Experiments in Ethics, I realized that we've started a series without knowing it: "[Insert name of eminent scholar here], On Morality."

Last month, Steven Pinker, who teaches psychology at Harvard, joined us to talk about an article he wrote for The New York Times Magazine about a new trend: scientists who are interested in philosophical questions. The show — and the conversation on the blog — were lively.

"Morality is clearly a judgment that comes out of our emotions and our reason," Pinker told us. "It's a psychological phenomenon which may have objective counterparts but it certainly has psychological counterparts."

Now that we've heard from a scientist interested in philosophy, we'll hear from a philosopher who is interested in how science may define, or redefine, his discipline. Appiah argues that "experimental philosophy" began with Plato and Aristotle, and that it is something to which we should return. He says biology, neuroscience, psychology, and other sciences can help us understand how we make moral judgments.

We want to know what guides your moral decisions? Character? Situation? Intuition? Example? Be specific.

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