The question of what is “right” and what is “wrong” is about as commonplace and pedestrian as philosophical debates get. Some point to an inherent and universal moral compass that guides all of our ethical decision-making, while others gravitate towards a more relative approach that calls into question whether anything can be ultimately right or wrong at all. The opinions are strong on both sides and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be settled any time soon. But in the meantime, something that Professor Kurt Gray and Daniel Wegner have noticed is that certain entities are afforded moral status while other entities are not. What marks this degree of separation? According to them, the answer is a mind. In their book The Mind Club: Who Thinks, What Feels, and Why It Matters, Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of North Carolina, Kurt Gray, and his late colleague, Daniel Wegner, make the case that possession of a mind is the key to moral consideration, and they explore what that might mean for all the different types of minds we see in our world – from babies to animals, to God, and even the dead. I, Jake Walters, got the chance to speak with Kurt a few weeks ago and here’s what he had to say.
About Perpetual Notion Machine
Perpetual Notion Machine is a look at contemporary scientific issues and discoveries in a way that is accessible, understandable and entertaining to the non-scientists of the listening community.