Breaking Good: Moral Agency, Neuroethics, and the Spontaneity of Compassion

In Jake H. Davis (ed.), A Mirror is for Reflection: Understanding Buddhist Ethics. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. pp. 109-128 (2017)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

This paper addresses two specific and related questions the Buddhist neuroethics program raises for our traditional understanding of Buddhist ethics: Does affective neuroscience supply enough evidence that contempla- tive practices such as compassion meditation can enhance normal cognitive functioning? Can such an account advance the philosophical debate concerning freedom and determinism in a profitable direction? In response to the first question, I argue that dispositions such as empathy and altruism can in effect be understood in terms of the mechanisms that regulate affective cognition. In response to the second question, I claim that moral agency is a type of achievement that comes with learning the norms of ethical con- duct, which are not tractable by specifically neurobiological mechanisms and processes (though, once learned, such norms would have their neural cor- relates when enacted)

Author's Profile

Christian Coseru
College of Charleston

Analytics

Added to PP
2019-09-15

Downloads
300 (#61,367)

6 months
99 (#54,383)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?