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
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Jerome Kagan is Starch Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and co-Director of the Mind-Brain-Behavior Initiative at Harvard. His research has addressed cognitive and emotional development in children, with a special concern for the role of temperament in personality and in understanding of the moral emotions. His most recent book, Three Seductive Ideas, devotes a chapter to the unique moral competencies of humans and their relation to empathy and altruism.
Morality, Altruism, and Love

This paper discusses the concepts of morality, altruism, and love by emphasizing the semantic network linked to each term that is dominated by intention, an appreciation of the concepts of good and bad, and the emotional state of self-enhancement. Thus, this discussion awards salience to the meaning networks that refer to human features rather than those shared with other primates.

Morality - Although all animals, including humans, are motivated for feelings of pleasure that originate in changes in sensory modalities, humans are motivated to match their actions, thoughts, and behaviors to cognitive representations called ethical standards. When this consonance occurs, the individual experiences a uniquely human feeling one might call enhanced virtue. The ability to infer the thoughts and feelings of others, to apply the categories good and bad to objects and events, to reflect on past actions, and to decide that a particular action could have been suppressed created a novel biologically prepared competence in humans that begins its growth by the second birthday and is mature by late adolescence. Although there is a biological foundation for human morality, that does not mean that one particular ethical system is more natural or more adaptive than another.

Altruism - The discussion of altruism emphasizes the helping agent's awareness of the need of another rather than refer only to behaviors that benefit another. One basis for altruistic acts serves a moral sense. Another motive is love for another and a third basis for altruism is the desire to create a state of indebtedness in the other.

Love - Love has four distinctive meaning networks and each will be discussed. A key assumption is that a beloved target is likely to possess characteristics that match representations of the ideal in the other.

Finally, the paper will conclude that altruism and love may have become less frequent in contemporary society because of the socialization of youth to regard self, rather than others, as the only significant object to enhance.

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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