Life Sciences and Society Symposium to focus on neuroscience and ethics

Friday, March 18, 2011 | 2:46 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Leading researchers will be at MU this weekend to discuss science and morality.

The seventh annual Life Sciences and Society Symposium: Ethics and the Brain is bringing together experts in neuroscience, law, psychology, philosophy, anthropology and theology to discuss how a person’s biology influences decisions. All events are free and open to the public, and registration is encouraged.


  • “Neurocriminology: Neuroethical and Neurolegal Implications” at 10:30 a.m. in the Conservation Hall foyer at the Anheuser-Busch Natural Resources Building. Adrian Raine, criminology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, will discuss the connection between brain impairments and criminal behavior.
  • Panel discussion at 2:50 p.m. in Monsanto Auditorium at the Bond Life Sciences Center. The panel will include Adrian Raine of the University of Pennsylvania; Adam Kolber, law professor at Brooklyn Law School; and Nancey Murphy, theology professor at Fuller Theological Seminary. 
  • "History of Violence" keynote address at 7 p.m. at the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts. Steven Pinker, Harvard University psychology professor, will discuss why the public perceives crime to be on the rise, despite its actual historical decline. 


  • "How the Mind Makes Morals" at 9 a.m. in Monsanto Auditorium. Patricia Churchland, philosophy professor at the University of California-San Diego, will discuss how the brain influences human concerns about others' well-being.
  • "Getting Mad About the Bad: Emotion and the Moral Brain" at 11:30 a.m. in Monsanto Auditorium. Jesse Prinz, philosophy professor at the City University of New York, will discuss the role emotions and reason play in decision-making.
  • Panel discussion at 12:30 p.m. in Monsanto Auditorium. The panel will include Patricia Churchland of the University of California-San Diego; Joseph Dumit, anthropology professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Jesse Prinz of the City University of New York. 

Event registration is free, and it is required for lunch and refreshments. For more information, a complete schedule of events and registration, visit the symposium website.

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