Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality (Hardcover)
Evolution, Culture, and Wisdom (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology)
W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393706550, 422pp.
Publication Date: October 20, 2014
Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality advances the field of developmental moral psychology in three key ways. First, it provides an evolutionary framework for early childhood experience grounded in developmental systems theory, encompassing not only genes but a wide array of environmental and epigenetic factors. Second, it proposes a neurobiological basis for the development of moral sensibilities and cognition, describing ethical functioning at multiple levels of complexity and context before turning to a theory of the emergence of wisdom. Finally, it embraces the sociocultural orientations of our ancestors and cousins in small-band hunter-gatherer societies--the norm for 99% of human history--for a re-envisioning of moral life, from the way we value and organize child raising to how we might frame a response to human-made global ecological collapse. Integrating the latest scholarship in clinical sciences and positive psychology, Narvaez proposes a developmentally informed ecological and ethical sensibility as a way to self-author and revise the ways we think about parenting and sociality. The techniques she describes point towards an alternative vision of moral development and flourishing, one that synthesizes traditional models of executive, top-down wisdom with "primal" wisdom built by multiple systems of biological and cultural influence from the ground up.