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2014 Wellcome Lecture in Neuroethics

Thursday 30 October 2014, 5.30-6.45pm

Lecture Theatre
Oxford Martin School
University of Oxford
Old Indian Institute
34 Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BD

Public event, all welcome.  Booking required.

Book Online

We are pleased to announce that our 2014 Wellcome Lecture in Neuroethics will be delivered by Professor Walter Sinnott-Armstrong of Duke University, as follows:

Title: Implicit Moral Attitudes

Abstract: Most moral philosophers and psychologists focus on explicit moral beliefs that people give as answers to questions. However, much research in social psychology shows that implicit moral attitudes (unconscious beliefs or associations) also affect our thinking and behavior. This talk will report our new psychological and neuroscientific research on implicit moral attitudes (using a process dissociation procedure) and then explore potential implications for scientific moral psychology as well as  for philosophical theories of moral epistemology, responsibility, and virtue. If there is time, I will discuss practical uses of these findings in criminal law, especially regarding the treatment of psychopaths and prediction of their recidivism.

Bio: Walter Sinnott-Armstrong is Chauncey Stillman Professor of Practical Ethics in the Department of Philosophy and the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. He is core faculty in the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, the Duke Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, and the Duke Center for Interdisciplinary Decision Sciences. He serves as Resource Faculty in the Philosophy Department of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Partner Investigator at the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics, and Research Scientist with The Mind Research Network in New Mexico. He has visited recently at National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan (2010), the Macquarie Research Center for Agency, Values, and Ethics in Australia (2011), and the National Institutes of Health in Washington (2011). He has received fellowships from the Harvard Program in Ethics and the Professions, the Princeton Center for Human Values, the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, the Center for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the Australian National University, and the Sage Center for the Study of the Mind at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is co-chair of the Board of Officers of the American Philosophical Association and has been co-director of the MacArthur Law and Neuroscience Project. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Amherst College and his doctorate from Yale University. He has published widely on ethics (theoretical and applied as well as meta-ethics), empirical moral psychology and neuroscience, philosophy of law, epistemology, philosophy of religion, and informal logic. Most recently, he is the author of Morality Without God? and Moral Skepticisms as well as editor of Moral Psychology, volumes I-III. His articles have appeared in a variety of philosophical, scientific, and popular journals and collections.  His current work is on moral psychology and brain science as well as uses of neuroscience in legal systems. He is also working on a book that will develop a contrastivist view of freedom and responsibility.


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