Monday, 28 February 2011

Research: Mirror neurons, moral questions and the "Empathic civilization"

Three inspiring short talks that attempt to connect science with anthropology, morality and the future of our civilization.

Has science reached a point where it has enough data to allow us to understand complex human behaviour and even the foundations of human civilization? Could it help us form clear answers on moral issues and create a global empathic society?
All three videos have some very strong points suggesting that it actually can and should be involved with such issues, and translate the current scientific findings to explain how:

The neurons that shaped civilization (Vilayanur Ramachandran, 2009)
Neuroscientist Vilayanur Ramachandran outlines the fascinating functions of mirror neurons. Only recently discovered, these neurons allow us to learn complex social behaviors, some of which formed the foundations of human civilization as we know it.

- The Empathic Civilization (RSA Animate, Jeremy Rifkin, 2010)
In this talk from RSA Animate, bestselling author Jeremy Rifkin investigates the evolution of empathy and the profound ways it has shaped human development and society.

- Science can answer moral questions (Sam Harris, 2010)
Questions of good and evil, right and wrong are commonly thought unanswerable by science. But Sam Harris argues that science can -- and should -- be an authority on moral issues, shaping human values and setting out what constitutes a good life.

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