An “illuminating, entertaining and wise” (Nicholas A. Christakis, Nature) approach to understanding how our moral systems develop.
Distinguished founder of neurophilosophy Patricia S. Churchland explores why all social groups have ideals for behaviour, even though ethics vary among different cultures and even among individuals. Bringing together an understanding of the influences of nature and nurture, she looks to evolution to elucidate how our brains are configured to form bonds and to care; Churchland then turns to philosophy to understand how morality is transmitted through generations and why it has become a central piece of all societies.
"No one blends philosophy and neuroscience as well as Patricia Churchland. Here she provides a much-needed correction to the usual emphasis on reasoning and logic in moral philosophy. Our judgements are guided by ancient intuitions and brain processes shared with other mammals." — Frans de Waal
"Conscience is illuminating, entertaining and wise." — Nature
"... her conclusion—that conscience is not as fixed or universal as we might like to think—is a fascinating and provocative one." — Economia