Being in the world: neuroscience and the ethical agent
This chapter summarizes several classic arguments about consciousness and the nature of the mind (Descartes, Russell, Parfit, Skinner, Armstrong, Nagel, Dewey, James, Searle, and Koch). It argues that a coherent view of consciousness will include a way to understand memory and rational action, and suggests areas for future research on ethics in a world in which traditional ideas about duty, covenant, ipsity, and relationality are rapidly being re-understood in biological terms. It contends that ethics depends on narrative structures that give meaning to norms. Hence, the way that minds (and brains, to be precise) structure story and rule is critical to how we know and discern. At the core of this is memory and motive, yet for the ethicist, it will be the publicity of the moral gesture, the play out in history and social space, that is the final criterion of what beings mean to one another.
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