The Moral Brain

Essays on the Evolutionary and Neuroscientific Aspects of Morality

  • Jan Verplaetse
  • Jelle Schrijver
  • Sven Vanneste
  • Johan Braeckman

Table of contents

About this book


Scientists no longer accept the existence of a distinct moral organ as phrenologists once did. A generation of young neurologists is using advanced technological medical equipment to unravel specific brain processes enabling moral cognition. In addition, evolutionary psychologists have formulated hypotheses about the origins and nature of our moral architecture. Little by little, the concept of a ‘moral brain’ is reinstated.

As the crossover between disciplines focusing on moral cognition was rather limited up to now, this book aims at filling the gap. Which evolutionary biological hypotheses provide a useful framework for starting new neurological research? How can brain imaging be used to corroborate hypotheses concerning the evolutionary background of our species?

In this reader, a broad range of prominent scientists and philosophers shed their expert view on the current accomplishments and future challenges in the field of moral cognition and assess how cooperation between neurology and evolutionary psychology can boost research into the field of the moral brain.


Cognitive Neuroscience Moral Neurology Neuroscience ethics evolution evolutionary biology evolutionary psychology modularity

Editors and affiliations

  • Jan Verplaetse
    • 1
  • Jelle Schrijver
    • 2
  • Sven Vanneste
    • 3
  • Johan Braeckman
    • 4
  1. 1.Ghent UniversityGentBelgium
  2. 2.Ghent UniversityGentBelgium
  3. 3.Dept. NeurosurgeryUniversity Hospital AntwerpEdegemBelgium
  4. 4.Ghent UniversityGentBelgium

Bibliographic information