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Neuroexistentialism: Meaning, Morals, and Purpose in the Age of Neuroscience

Gregg Caruso and Owen Flanagan


Existentialism is a concern about the foundation of meaning, morals, and purpose. Existentialisms arise when some foundation for these elements of being is under assault. In the past, first-wave existentialism concerned the increasingly apparent inability of religion and religious tradition to provide such a foundation, as typified in the writings of Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, and Nietzsche. Second-wave existentialism, personified philosophically by Sartre, Camus, and de Beauvoir, developed in response to the inability of an overly optimistic Enlightenment vision of reason and the common good to ... More

Keywords: neuroexistentialism, existentialism, neuroscience, meaning, morality, purpose, consciousness, free will, moral responsibility, neurolaw

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780190460723
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190460723.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Gregg Caruso, editor
Associate Professor of Philosophy, Corning Community College/SUNY

Owen Flanagan, editor
Duke Professor of Philosophy and Neurobiology, Duke University

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Chapter 1 Neuroexistentialism

Owen Flanagan and Gregg D. Caruso

Part I Morality, Love, and Emotion

Chapter 4 Does Neuroscience Undermine Morality?

Paul Henne and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong

Part II Autonomy, Consciousness, and the Self

Chapter 8 Relational Authenticity

Shaun Gallagher, Ben Morgan, and Naomi Rokotnitz

Part III Free Will, Moral Responsibility, and Meaning in Life

Chapter 11 Hard-Incompatibilist Existentialism

Derk Pereboom and Gregg D. Caruso

Chapter 13 Free Will Skepticism, Freedom, and Criminal Behavior

Farah Focquaert, Andrea L. Glenn, and Adrian Raine

Chapter 15 Humility, Free Will Beliefs, and Existential Angst

Thomas Nadelhoffer and Jennifer Cole Wright

Part IV Neuroscience and the Law

End Matter