See excerpts below
Several recent books, using anthropology, psychology and evolution, have argued that our ethical or moral life evolved from nature. Now a distinguished neuroscientist takes that proposition a critical step farther, right to the basics: brain signals.
Donald Pfaff, Ph.D., head of the Laboratory of Neurobiology and Behavior at Rockefeller University, gives us the first book to describe how ethics may be a hardwired function of the human brain.
Pfaff explains how specific brain circuits cause us to consider an action toward another as if it were going to happen to us, prompting us to treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Into this picture, he brings various brain hormones that produce or induce forms of moral behavior such as individual heroism, parental love, close friendship, and violence and aggression.
Pfaff solves the mystery of our universal ethical precepts, presenting a rock-solid hypothesis of why humans across time and geography have such similar notions of good and bad, right and wrong