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JOSHUA GREENE / MORAL TRIBES: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them
Hillside Club
Berkeley, CA
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Co-sponsored by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley

A pathbreaking neuroscientist reveals how our social instincts turn Me into Us, but turn Us against Them -- and what we can do about it

Our brains were designed for tribal life, for getting along with a select group of others (Us) and for fighting off everyone else (Them). But modern times have forced the world's tribes into a shared space, resulting in epic clashes of values along with unprecedented opportunities. As the world shrinks, the moral lines that divide us become more salient and more puzzling. We fight over everything from tax codes to gay marriage to global warming, and we wonder where, if at all, we can find our common ground.

A grand synthesis of neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy, Moral Tribes reveals the underlying causes of modern conflict and lights the way forward. Greene compares the human brain to a dual-mode camera, with point-and-shoot automatic settings ("portrait," "landscape") as well as a manual mode. Our point-and-shoot settings are our emotions -- efficient, automated programs honed by evolution, culture, and personal experience. The brain's manual mode is its capacity for deliberate reasoning, which makes our thinking flexible. Point-and-shoot emotions make us social animals, turning Me into Us. But they also make us tribal animals, turning Us against Them. Our tribal emotions make us fight -- sometimes with bombs, sometimes with words -- often with life-and-death stakes.

An award-winning teacher and pathbreaking neuroscientist, Professor Joshua Greene directs Harvard University's Moral Cognition Lab, which uses cutting-edge neuroscience and cognitive techniques to understand how people really make moral decisions. Combining insights from the lab with lessons from decades of social science and centuries of philosophy, the great question of Moral Tribes is this: How can we get along with Them when what they want feels so wrong to Us?

Ultimately, Greene offers a set of maxims for navigating the modern moral terrain, a practical road map for solving problems and living better lives. Moral Tribes shows us when to trust our instincts, when to reason, and how the right kind of reasoning can move us forward.

"Joshua Greene is the rarest of birdsa brilliant scientist and equally brilliant philosopher who simultaneously takes on the deepest problems of both disciplines. More than a decade in the making, Moral Tribes is a masterpiecea landmark work brimming with originality and insight that also happens to be wickedly fun to read. The only disappointing thing about this book is that it ends."  -- Daniel Gilbert, professor of psychology, Harvard University; author of Stumbling on Happiness

"A decade ago, the wunderkind Joshua Greene helped start the field of moral neuroscience, producing dazzling research findings. In this equally dazzling book, Greene shows that he is also one of the field's premier synthesists. Considerable progress has been made in solving the classic problem of how to get individuals within a group to start cooperating. Greene takes on an even bigger problemhow to foster cooperation between groups, groups with deeply felt morals and values, but with different morals and values. There are few more important issues to solve in our increasingly pluralistic world, and this beautifully written book is a step in that direction." -- Robert Sapolsky, John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Professor of Biological Sciences, Stanford University

"Over the past decade, Greene's groundbreaking research has helped us understand how people judge right and wrong. Now, in this brilliant and enlightening book, he draws on his own research and that of many others to give a more complete picture of our differences over moral issues. But the significance of this book goes far beyond that. Greene suggests a common moral currency that can serve as a basis for cooperation between people who are otherwise deeply divided on matters of morality. If our planet is to have a peaceful and prosperous future such a common moral currency is urgently needed. This book should be widely read and discussed." -- Peter Singer, professor of bioethics, Princeton University

"After two and a half millennia, it's rare to come across a genuinely new idea on the nature of morality, but in this book Joshua Greene advances not one but several. Greene combines neuroscience with philosophy not as a dilettante but as an expert in both fields, and his synthesis is interdisciplinary in the best sense of using all available conceptual tools to understand a deep phenomenon. Moral Tribes is a landmark in our understanding of morality and the moral sense." -- Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology, Harvard University; author of How the Mind Works and The Better Angels of Our Nature

7:30 PM at the Hillside Club (2286 Cedar Street, Berkeley)

Booksigning follows the program.

Advance tickets $8 - $15. Tickets at the door $20
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Location

Hillside Club (View)
2286 Cedar Street
Berkeley, CA 94109
United States


Categories

Arts > Literary
Education > Other
Other > Political
Other > Spiritual

Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!

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