Does moral action depend on reasoning?

This is the sixth in a series of conversations among leading scientists, scholars, and public figures about the "Big Questions."
For the other Big Questions in this series, click here.
To request a free booklet containing all the essays below, click here. For a PDF, here.
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  Michael Gazzaniga Not really.
Michael Gazzaniga is the director of the SAGE Center for the Study of Mind at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is president of the Cognitive Neuroscience Institute and the author of, among many other books, The Ethical Brain: The Science of Our Moral Dilemmas.

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Rebecca Newberger Goldstein Yes and no, happily.
Rebecca Newberger Goldstein's most recent book is 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction. A MacArthur Foundation Fellow, she is also the author of the nonfiction works Betraying Spinoza and Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel.

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Aref Ali NayedNo, it does not!
Aref Ali Nayed is the director of Kalam Research & Media in Dubai. He lectures on Islamic theology, logic, and spirituality at the restored Uthman Pasha Madrasa in Tripoli and serves as a senior advisor to the Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme in the United Kingdom.

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Alfred MeleOnly if we're free.
Alfred Mele is the William H. and Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University. His books include Effective Intentions: The Power of Conscious Will; Free Will and Luck; and Motivation and Agency.

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Stanley Fish It depends...
Stanley Fish is a professor of law at Florida International University and dean emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is the author of eleven books on a range of literary and cultural subjects.

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Christine M. KorsgaardYes, if...
Christine M. Korsgaard is the Arthur Kingsley Porter Professor of Philosophy and the director of graduate studies in philosophy at Harvard University. Her books include The Sources of Normativity; Creating the Kingdom of Ends; The Constitution of Agency; and Self-Constitution: Agency, Identity, and Integrity.

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Joshua D. GreeneLess than it should.
Joshua D. Greene is an assistant professor of psychology at Harvard University and the director of the Moral Cognition Lab. He uses neuroscientific and behavioral methods to study moral judgment and decision-making, as well as other traditionally philosophical topics.

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Jonathan SacksReason isn't enough.
Jonathan Sacks became Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth in 1991. A recipient of the Jerusalem Prize and a life peer in the House of Lords, he has written more than a dozen books.

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John KihlstromYes, within limits.
John F. Kihlstrom is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of over a hundred scientific articles. He is the former editor of the journal Psychological Science and the co-author, with Nancy Cantor, of Personality and Social Intelligence.

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Jonah LehrerNot so much.
Jonah Lehrer is the author of How We Decide and Proust Was a Neuroscientist. A contributing editor at Wired, he has also written for the New Yorker, Nature, Seed, the Washington Post, and the Boston Globe.

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Jean Bethke ElshtainNot entirely.
Jean Bethke Elshtain is the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Her many books include Public Man, Private Woman: Women in Social and Political Thought; Augustine and the Limits of Politics; and Sovereignty: God, State, and Self.

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Antonio DamasioYes and no.
Antonio Damasio is the David Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience and the director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California. He is the author of Descartes' Error and Self Comes to Mind, which will be published later this year.

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Robert P. GeorgeYes, by nature.
Robert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and a member of the Task Force on the Virtues of a Free Society of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. His books include In Defense of Natural Law.

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