Santa Fe Institute

On Moral Progress: Is the Human Conscience Led by the Head or the Heart?

Community Event

August 14, 2013
7:30 PM
James A. Little Theater

On Moral Progress: Is the Human Conscience Led by the Head or the Heart?

Is the human conscience led by the head or the heart? Is the moral progress we have enjoyed – religious freedom, the abolition of slavery, anti-war movements, civil, women’s, and gay rights – a gift of empathy and emotion, or of reason and logic? Psychologist and author Steven Pinker and philosopher and novelist Rebecca Newberger Goldstein survey the history of moral progress in human society, a history, they say, suggesting that reason and logic have had a surprisingly powerful role in shaping the human condition.  

Steven Pinker is a Harvard College Professor and Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. He conducts research on language and cognition and is the author of seven books, most recently The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature.

Rebecca Newberger Goldstein is an American novelist and professor of philosophy. She has written five novels, a number of short stories and essays, and biographical studies of mathematician Kurt Gödel and philosopher Baruch Spinoza.  Goldstein was a 2011 Santa Fe Institute Miller Scholar.

Lectures are free and open to the public. Seating is limited.

Sponsored by Los Alamos National Bank

Watch it on our live webcast on SFI's YouTube Page 

To Follow the live Twitter feed visit: @sfi_live or follow the Hashtag #sfi_live

Purpose: Community Event

SFI Host: Ginger Richardson

  • * SFI community lectures are free, open, & accessible to the public.
  • * Other SFI events are by invitation only.

Events News

Video: Jordan Ellenberg on the power of uncertainty and contradiction Oct. 19, 2016 -

During an October 18 SFI Community Lecture in Santa Fe, mathematician Jordan Ellenberg explored how math can help us think about the seemingly uncertain matters that dominate our lives. Watch ...

Video: Watch Seth Lloyd's 2016 Ulam Lectures: Birth, collapse, and rebirth at The Information Edge Sept. 29, 2016 -

In two lectures, Seth Lloyd explores what happens when one system gains an advantage in collecting and processing information – an advantage he believes underlies all creation and destruction in our ...

Ecologists gather the pieces of a first-principles-derived ecological theory Sept. 21, 2016 -

A team of ecologists met at SFI recently to begin synthesizing an efficient theory that aims toward a more unified understanding of ecology.

Watch the video of Rosalind Picard's SFI Community Lecture Sept. 2, 2016 -

During an SFI Community Lecture in Santa Fe, Rosalind Picard reveals some of the surprises she has discovered at the intersection of human emotion and wearable tech. Watch her talk ...

Networks, AI, and psychology for social change Aug. 4, 2016 -

Drawing from network science, decision-making tools with artificial intelligence, and social influence theories, experts gathered at SFI recently to explore new ways to spark large-scale social change.

More News