David Baker on Compassion and Oxytocin

With perfect timing, TED recently released Paul Zak’s talk on “Trust, morality – and oxytocin”, first given at TEDGlobal in July and now on the TED website. A “neuroeconomist” at Claremont Graduate University in southern California, Zak argues that values such as compassion, empathy, trust, respect, love and so on are hard wired in our brains because it makes good evolutionary sense for us to cooperate. And he says he has isolated the molecule – oxytocin – that makes them happen…

 

It’s not always comfortable to hear moral values, such as compassion, trust and empathy, described in chemical terms. Somehow it feels they should left to moral philosophers and saints.