Neuroexistentialism: Meaning, Morals, and Purpose in the Age of Neuroscience

ISBN : 9780190460730

Gregg Caruso; Owen Flanagan
376 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Feb 2018
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Existentialisms arise when the foundations of being, such as meaning, morals, and purpose come under assault. In the first-wave of existentialism, writings typified by Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, and Nietzsche concerned the increasingly apparent inability of religion, and religious tradition, to support a foundation of being. Second-wave existentialism, personified philosophically by Sartre, Camus, and de Beauvoir, developed in response to similar realizations about the overly optimistic Enlightenment vision of reason and the common good. The third-wave of existentialism, a new existentialism, developed in response to advances in the neurosciences that threaten the last vestiges of an immaterial soul or self. Given the increasing explanatory and therapeutic power of neuroscience, the mind no longer stands apart from the world to serve as a foundation of meaning. This produces foundational anxiety. In Neuroexistentialism, a group of contributors that includes some of the world's leading philosophers, neuroscientists, cognitive scientists, and legal scholars, explores the anxiety caused by third-wave existentialism and possible responses to it. Together, these essays tackle our neuroexistentialist predicament, and explore what the mind sciences can tell us about morality, love, emotion, autonomy, consciousness, selfhood, free will, moral responsibility, law, the nature of criminal punishment, meaning in life, and purpose.


Preface; Contributor List; Chapter 1: Neuroexistentialism: Third-Wave Existentialism; Owen Flanagan and Gregg D. Caruso ; Section I. Morality, Love, and Emotion; Chapter 2: The Impact of Social Neuroscience on Moral Philosophy; Patricia Smith Churchland ; Chapter 3: All You Need is Love(s): Exploring the Biological Platform of Morality; Maureen Sie ; Chapter 4: Does Neuroscience Undermine Morality?; Paul Henne and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong; Chapter 5: The Neuroscience of Purpose, Meaning, and Morals; Edmund T. Rolls; Chapter 6: Moral Sedimentation; Jesse Prinz ; Section II. Autonomy, Consciousness, and the Self; Chapter 7: Choices Without Choosers: Towards a Neuropsychologically Plausible Existentialism Neil Levy; Chapter 8: Relational Authenticity; Shaun Gallagher, Ben Morgan, and Naomi Rokotnitz ; Chapter 9: Behavior Control, Meaning, and Neuroscience; Walter Glannon; Chapter 10: Two Types of Libertarian Free Will are Realized in the Human Brain; Peter U. Tse ; Section III. Free Will, Moral Responsibility, and Meaning in Life; Chapter 11: Hard-Incompatibilist Existentialism: Neuroscience, Punishment, and Meaning in; Life Derk Pereboom and Gregg D. Caruso; Chapter 12: On Determinism and Human Responsibility; Michael S. Gazzaniga ; Chapter 13:Free Will Skepticism, Freedom, and Criminal Behavior; Farah Focquaert, Andrea L. Glenn, Adrian Raine; Chapter 14: Your Brain as the Source of Free Will Worth Wanting: Understanding Free Will in the Age of Neuroscience Eddy Nahmias ; Chapter 15: Humility, Free Will Beliefs, and Existential Angst: How We Got from a Preliminary Investigation to a Cautionary Tale Thomas Nadelhoffer and Jennifer Cole Wright; Chapter 16: Purpose, Freedom, and the Laws of Nature; Sean M. Carroll; Section IV. Neuroscience and the Law; Chapter 17: The Neuroscience of Criminality and Our Sense of Justice: An Analysis of Recent; Appellate Decisions in Criminal Cases; Valerie Hardcastle ; Chapter 18:The Neuroscientific Non-Challenge to Meaning, Morals and Purpose; Stephen J. Morse

About the author: 

Gregg D. Caruso is Associate Professor of Philosophy at SUNY Corning; Owen Flanagan is James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy at Duke University

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