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Openness and Deference: The Role of Awe in Scientific and Religious Practice

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Dr Helen De Cruz is currently senior lecturer in philosophy at Oxford Brookes University. Before joining Brookes I had appointments at the VU Amsterdam, the University of Oxford, and the University of Leuven. My main specialization is philosophy of cognitive science, and I have also published in philosophy of religion, epistemology and general philosophy of science. My work is concerned with the question how humans form beliefs in domains that are remote from everyday concerns such as in mathematics, theology, and science. I examine how we can form such beliefs, and what explains their transmission.

My present research interest is meta-ethics and evolutionary explanations of morality. I intend to flesh out a form of moral realism where true moral statements correspond to facts about human cooperation. My distinctive contribution to this debate is to bring archaeological findings into the philosophical discussion, looking specifically at archaeological evidence for care for disabled individuals, for cooperative hunting and childcare, and for large-scale social security networks between hunter-gatherers bands as evidence for the ancient origins of a uniquely human morality.

This talk is part of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion series.

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