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Psychology as a moral guide

Progress in neuroscience has revived ideas that were once championed by a school of thought in psychology called behaviorism: human conduct could be managed by modifying external stimuli, for individuals were essentially seen as the addition of chemical functions triggered by the nervous system in response to the environment. Neuroscience has now revealed the processes that occur in our brains, further supporting the mechanistic view of human beings, as Tamsin Shaw discusses it for the New York Review of Books. It is the moral implications that cause concern, but as Shaw sums up, “No psychologist has yet developed a method that can be substituted for moral reflection and reasoning, for employing our own intuitions and principles, weighing them against one another and judging as best we can.”


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