New Scientist now has an excellent article about yesterday’s Nature paper. With the sensible title Impaired emotional processing affects moral judgements, it gets bonus points for making a Mr. Spock reference.
Ahh, what would science journalists do if they couldn’t make Trek references in the lede?
Not being science journalism, Slashdot just points to a different NYT article on the same topic. I only mention it because the post sparked a lively series of comments on the blog, and is another in a series of examples which seem to mark a trend: science about morality is now big news, and is reaching a wide audience. I could not have said this even a year ago, so we appear to have passed a tipping point.
We are participating in the birth of something exciting, and journalists, bloggers and readers are interested in this because it touches upon the core of the human experience of right and wrong. That interest bodes well for the development of the discipline, and I can only hope it results in increased student enrollment in philosophy classes, as well as graduate research in the area.
So, to the go-to researchers working in this area, how do you handle requests for a soundbite? It is rare for a quote in modern media to be longer than a couple of sentences, and it is clear that the complexity of the issues require the audience be exposed to important background information as well as critical commentary.
Perhaps a FAQ is in order, so non-philosophers and non-scientists interested in the discipline can get up to speed: something more than the meager two sentences in the Wikipedia entry on experimental philosophy.