It's an old distinction: Science tells us what the world is like, but it can never tell us how we ought to behave in such a world. That's the realm of morality, and here we consult ethicists or perhaps priests—but something other than just data.
It's pretty tough to keep science hemmed in, though; and in the past decade a group of researchers have begun to transform how we think about morality. They've put our sense of right and wrong in lab, and even in the fMRI machine. And while their findings may or may not ultimately tell you what you ought to do, they dramatically illuminate how we make such decisions...and, perhaps, fundamentally redefine what morality is in the first place.
Harvard's Joshua Greene, a leader in this new wave of research and author of the new book Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them, is our guest on this week’s show.