The Moral Animal: Virtue, Vice & Human Nature

Panel Discussion December 9, 2015

In Tolstoy’s famous novella, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, a rich and meaningful inner life is sacrificed in pursuit of material rewards and social status. How can we cultivate something intrinsic that transcends our worldly accomplishments? Assuming a basic model or map of human nature is needed to navigate the road to the good life, what desires, tendencies, and aversions comprise our core nature? How has our evolutionary history shaped our moral impulses? Are we inherently good, or fundamentally flawed? Philosopher Christian Miller joins forces with cognitive neuroscientist Heather Berlin and science writer Michael Shermer to take a closer look at our moral ecology and its influence on our underlying assumptions about human nature.


  • Steve Paulson Journalist and Executive Producer, TTBOOK
  • Heather Berlin Assistant Professor of Psychiatry & Neuroscience, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • Christian Miller Professor of Philosophy, Wake Forest University
  • Michael Shermer Founding Publisher, Skeptic Magazine


  • Wednesday, December 9, 2015
  • 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
  • The New York Academy of Sciences
    7 World Trade Center, 250 Greenwich Street, 40th Floor


This volume brings together leading scientists, philosophers, and scholars to investigate the evolving nature of the human condition and the enduring quest to lead the good life.

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About This Series

This event is part of the From Knowledge to Wisdom: Science and the Good Life series, which brings together an array of leading scientists, philosophers, and scholars for an interdisciplinary investigation into the evolving nature of the human condition and the ultimate quest to discover how to lead the good life.



  • Where Does Morality Come From? Dec 09, 2015 08:39 4359
  • Are We Innately Evil? Insight from the Milgram Experiment Dec 09, 2015 09:31 1632
  • Do Animals Have a Sense of Morality? Dec 09, 2015 01:50 6126
  • What Can Neuroscience Tell Us about Moral Responsibility? Dec 09, 2015 08:49 1243
  • Does Virtue Have Any Relevance Today? Dec 09, 2015 05:37 1126
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