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The ethics of our instincts: The good, the bad and the brain

Since the brain is the organ of the mind, the human mind too must in some fundamental sense be designed to maximise our chances of surviving to reproduce. The influence of such principles is expressed in stereotyped tendencies called instincts.

Instincts exert a compulsive influence over mental life and behaviour precisely because they are so important for survival and reproductive success. Of course, we humans can inhibit these compulsive tendencies, but that does not mean they disappear, indeed they have a massive impact on behaviour. If the design principle that underpins behaviour is the biological principle of survival and reproductive success, does this imply that it is good, in the ethical sense, to survive and to reproduce?

The article, The Good, the Bad and the Brain, examines this issue further. Read the article and post your comments below.

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This article is from the free online course:

What Is a Mind?

University of Cape Town