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Virtual Discussion Group - Can we run society using only Science and Reason?

  • Thursday, July 16, 2020
  • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Virtual

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Can we run society using only science and reason or is it necessary to engage emotions?


Is it possible to achieve a society controlled purely by science and reason? When we make moral decisions, we are motivated by both emotions and reasoning.  Dan Barker, in Mere Morality, includes instinct (or emotions) as one of three moral motivators: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41219345-mere-morality

Antonio Damasio, in Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain, uses studies of brain-damaged patients to show that we cannot make even simple decisions without engaging our emotions through the prefrontal cortex.

https://www.decision-making-solutions.com/emotional_decision_making.html

https://www.edbatista.com/2011/07/antonio-damasio-on-emotion-and-reason.html

We have long understood rationally the statistics showing that police kill black people in greater numbers than they kill whites, but little had been done until graphic videos of George Floyd’s slow, tortured murder drove thousands of white people into the streets along with their black friends, all motivated by compassion and anger.

Do we need to engage emotions such as empathy and compassion to achieve real societal change or can we leave it up to the scientists, knowing that scientists can become emotionally attached to their own theories, and that emotions are easily manipulated by demagogues? 

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