Empathy, Altruism & Agape:Perspectives on Love in Science and Religion
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October 1-3, 1999, University Park Hotel at MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Path Home: Empathy, Altruism and Agape | Presenters or Itinerary

Antonio R. Damasio is Van Allen Distinguished Professor and Head of the Department of Neurology at the University of Iowa; and Adjunct Professor at The Salk Institute in La Jolla.

Damasio’s work has focused on elucidating critical problems in the fundamental neuroscience of mind and behavior, at the level of large-scale systems in humans, although his investigations have also encompassed parkinsonism, and Alzheimer’s disease. His contributions have had a major influence on our understanding of the neural basis of decision-making, emotion, language, and memory.

In collaboration with Hanna Damasio, a distinguished neurologist who is independently recognized for her achievements in neuroimaging and neuroanatomy, Damasio moved lesion studies away from clinical descriptions and placed them at the service of hypothesis-driven researching. The laboratories that he and Hanna Damasio created at the University of Iowa are a leading center for the investigation of cognition using both the lesion method and functional imaging.

Damasio is a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine; a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; a member of the Neurosciences Research Program; a member of the National Advisory Council on Neurological Diseases and Stroke; a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology; a member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts and of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Belgium; a member of the American Neurological Association, and of the Association of American Physicians, and a board member of leading neuroscience journals. He is a Past President of the Academy of Aphasia and of the Behavioral Neurology Society.

Damasio’s distinguished lectureships include the Tanner Lecture (Michigan), the Wilson Lecture (Wellesley), the Steubenbord Lectures (Cornell University), the Public Lecture at the Society for Neuroscience, the Aird Lectures (University of California, San Francisco), the Nobel Conference, the Karolinska Research Lecture at the Nobel Forum, and the Presidential Lecture at The University of Iowa. Since 1981 he has delivered an annual series of lectures on the neurology of behavior at Harvard Medical School. Among others, he has received the William Beaumont Prize from the American Medical Association (1990); the Golden Brain Award (1995); the Ipsen Prize (1997); and the Kappers Medal of Neuroscience (1999). In 1992 he and his wife shared the Pessoa Prize.

Antonio Damasio’s book Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain (Putnam, 1994) has been published in over 20 countries. His new book The Feeling of What Happens: Body, Emotion, and the Making of Consciousness is published by Harcourt Brace.

Damasio was born in Portugal. He received both his MD and his doctorate from the University of Lisbon, and began his research in cognitive neuroscience with the late Norman Geschwind.


The Neurobiology of Emotion

Understanding the nature of attachment, love, and altruism benefits from knowledge of the neurobiology of emotions and feelings, a long-neglected field of neuroscience that is now attracting much-deserved attention. In my talk I will review progress in this area, namely a theoretical framework which places emotion and feeling in an evolutionary perspective and discusses their biological role in homeostasis. I will also review recent experimental evidence regarding the neural systems involved in recognizing and experiencing emotions in humans. The evidence indicates that these phenomena are based, neurally speaking, on brain structures involved in regulating and representing the state of the body.

Friday, October 1, 1999

Elliott Sober, Ph.D.
University of Wisconsin
Mapping the Conceptual Terrain

Leda Cosmides, Ph.D. & John Tooby,Ph.D.
University of California, Santa Barbara
Friendship, engagement, and the Banker’s Paradox: Other pathways to the Evolution of Altruism

William H. Durham, Ph.D.
Stanford University
The Role of Culture in the Evolution of Altruism

David Sloan Wilson, Ph.D.
Binghamton University SUNY
The Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall of Altruism in Evolutionary Theory: Discussion with Audience

Frans B. M. de Waal, Ph. D.
Emory University, Yerkes Primate Living Links Center
Communication of Emotions and the Possibility of Sympathy in Monkeys and Apes

Antonio R. Damasio, M.D., Ph.D.
University of Iowa Hospital
The Neurobiology of Emotion

Hanna Damasio, M.D.
University of Iowa Hospital
Impaired Emotion and Social Behavior Following Brain Damage

William B. Hurlbut, M.D.
Stanford University
Empathy, Evolution and Ethics

Rev. Eugene Rivers
Ella J. Baker House

Saturday, October 2, 1999

Thomas R. Insel, M.D.
Emory University, Yerkes Primate Center
The Molecular Biology of Monogamy

Greg Fricchione, M.D.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Brain Evolution: Separation, Attachment and Agape

Jerome Kagan, Ph.D.
Harvard University
The Human Moral Sense

Don Browning, Ph.D.
The University of Chicago
Agape, Empathy and the Foundational/Nonfoundational Debate

Joan Eads, Zone Coordinator
L’Arche USA

Jeffrey P. Schloss, Ph.D. Westmont College
Is It Really More Blessed to Give than to Receive?: Emerging Questions in the Evolution of Radical Altruism

Edith Wyschogrod, Ph.D.
Rice University Pythagorean Bodies and the Body of Altruism

Stephen J. Pope, Ph.D.
Boston College
The Ordering of Love

Rev. Robert Hamerton-Kelly
Woodside Village Church
Emergence of Radical Love in the Biblical Tradition

Dame Cicely Saunders
St. Christopher’s Hospice

Sunday, October 3, 1999

Samuel P. Oliner, Ph.D.
Altruistic Personality and Prosocial Behavior Institute
Extraordinary Acts of Ordinary People: Faces of Heroism and Altruism

Pearl Oliner, Ph.D.
California State University - Humboldt
Ingroup and Outgroup Altruism: Protestants and Catholics

Kristen Renwick Monroe, Ph.D.
University of California
How Identity and Perspective Constrain Choice

Dan Batson, Ph.D.
University of Kansas
Addressing the Altruism Question Experimentally

V.S. Ramachandran, Ph.D.
University of California, San Diego
Neural Basis of Empathy and of Artistic Experience

Lynn G. Underwood, Ph.D.
Fetzer Institute
The Human Experience of Agape & Compassion: Conceptual Mapping and Data from Selected Studies

Ruben L.F. Habito, Ph.D.
Southern Methodist University
Compiversity Pythagorean Bodies and the Body of Altruism

Stephen J. Pope, Ph.D.
Boston College
The Ordering of Love

Rev. Robert Hamerton-Kelly
Woodside Village Church
Emergence of Radical Love in the Biblical Tradition

Dame Cicely Saunders
St. Christopher’s Hospice

John Templeton Foundation
c/o altruisticlove.org
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