Online Assignment: Ethics and Neuroscience

Required Viewing: Joshua Greene, "Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them "

Direct Link: http://youtu.be/8YxmuUUpuy4

Required Work: Answer the following questions as you would for class.

1. Summarize Greene's example of the tragedy of the commons. Explain the example of the tribes he follows it with.

2. What two problems does Greene draw out of his examples?

3. Explain Greene's analogy between the camera and the dual-system nature of moral thinking. How does this picture apply with respect to the Trolley Problem?

4. How does Greene develop the dual-system picture of cognition he gives using the examples of the child in the well and the typhoon? What does Greene think explains the typical responses to these cases?

5. Greene shifts to international affairs with an example of a rescue boat. What does this example show about the systems in the brain that are implicated in moral thinking where large numbers of lives are at stake?

6. Explain Greene's summary of Utilitarian theory, paying special attention to what he calls the "common currency" of morality.

7. Why does Greene think it is a mistake to use thought experiments to derive conclusions about moral philosophy?

8. Why does Greene think that a morality based on "common currency" will not "feel good". What does he say about rights-talk?

9. What general advice about ethics does Greene give at the end of his lecture? Do you agree with this advice? Why or why not? Support your answer with clear, cogent reasoning.

This assignment is due to the instructor by midnight, tomorrow night, February 2, 2016, via Marygrove email (ude.evorgyram|nosrettaps#ude.evorgyram|nosrettaps). Follow the formatting directions in the gray box given on the Assignments page. Late assignments will not be accepted for any reason. This is a credit/no credit assignment. See the assignments section of the syllabus if you don't know or have forgotten what this means.

When next we meet we will have a brief discussion of this assignment at the start of class. Be prepared!

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