Magazine
Latest Issue

Neuro ergo sum?

It is beguiling to think brain science can help us tell right from wrong—and unlikely too

By Guy Kahane   March 2010

Neuro-imaging can now trace the processes that underlie our ability to tell right from wrong. It allows us to analyse the brain tissue of psychopaths, and to map the areas responsible for feeling guilt or indignation, charity and racial prejudice. Recent studies have identified brain areas sensitive to fairness, and even common neural pathways in the frontal and temporal lobes that are active whenever we make a moral response: brain areas that might embody our very “moral sense.” But what is unclear, and both worries and excites ethicists, is how these advances might change the way we think about ethics.

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect