The Phronesis Program in Politics and Ethics hosts a variety of lectures and visiting faculty. In 2013, the program hosted Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, the Chauncey Stillman Professor of Practical Ethics in the Department of Philosophy and the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. Sinnott-Armstrong discussed the responsibility psychopaths may have for their actions.
4 p.m. Friday, February 7, in the Honors Commons
Babies possess a rich moral sense--they distinguish between good and bad acts and prefer good characters over bad ones. They feel pain at the pain of others, and might even possess a primitive sense of justice. But this moral sense is narrow. Many principles that are central to adult morality, such as kindness to strangers, are the product of our intelligence and our imagination; they are not in our genes. And some of our natural moral intuitions, having to do with purity, disgust, and even empathy, have perverse consequence—we would be better off without them.
PAUL BLOOM is the Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology at Yale University. His research explores how children and adults understand the physical and social world, with special focus on morality, religion, fiction, and art. He has won numerous awards for his research and teaching. He is past-president of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology, and co-editor of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, one of the major journals in the field. Dr. Bloom has written for scientific journals such as Nature and Science, and for popular outlets such as The New York Times, The Guardian, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic Monthly. He is the author or editor of six books, including Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil.