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Physis: Revista de Saúde Coletiva

Print version ISSN 0103-7331


PASSOS-FERREIRA, Cláudia. Does the brain have anything to do with morality? Mirror neurons, empathy and neuromorality. Physis [online]. 2011, vol.21, n.2, pp.471-490. ISSN 0103-7331.

This paper aims to consider the impact of progress in the neurosciences, in particular the discovery of mirror neurons, on the study of morality. It analyzes the current attempts at naturalizing moral principles based on this discovery, reducing human morality to basic biological properties. It explores how psychological studies on empathy, perspective taking and embodied simulation have gained new credibility, explanatory power, and overall theoretical "traction" because of the discovery of mirror neuron systems. As part of this movement, there are now renewed attempts by researchers at establishing functional links, possibly causal links, between brain and moral thought. These attempts and the renewed quest toward naturalizing ethics are critically considered.

Keywords : mirror neurons; empathy; ethics; naturalism; neuromorality.

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