The Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion, and the Universidade Federal da Bahia, are organizing a workshop on “The Brain, the Mind, the Person”, to be held at Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, 15-19 August, 2016. Dr Mariano Asla, professor at the School of Medicine of Universidad Austral, is presenting his paper “Prospects and Pitfalls of Naturalists Explanations of Moral Wrong-Doing”. He focuses on the approach of the cognitive ethologist Marc Hauser, who attempts to explain moral wrong-doing (in particular of gratuitous cruelty and violence) from an evolutionist and cognitivist standpoint. Asla tries to show that Hauser’s naturalist approach may be an interesting contribution for the comprehension of human psychology but entails certain philosophical weaknesses: i) it rests on implicit realist assumptions, ii) it requires a strong conception of human personal dignity and value, and iii) it fits better in a libertarian framework of free will. All these theses are at least problematic within the limits of a naturalistic approach.
We congratulate Mariano Asla for being selected to participate in the workshop.