A Wild West of the Mind. Scientific Seminar of the Center for Consciousness Studies

6 July, 2022

The new season of scientific seminars of Moscow Center for Consciousness Studies opens with a discussion of George Sher's book "A Wild West of the Mind" (2021).

Is it possible to impose moral responsibility for thoughts? Is it possible to condemn or punish people not only for their evil, vicious and terrible actions, but also for their inner malice, vicious beliefs and disgusting fantasies? Although most philosophers answer these questions in the affirmative, Sher tries to show that none of the central ethical concepts (neither consequentialism, nor deontology, nor ethics of virtues) gives grounds for such an answer and that accepting it would mean significantly limiting our mental freedom. In order not to lose it, we must allow our beliefs to follow where they lead us, and give carte blanche to our inner feelings, thoughts and imagination. In this case, the area of our pure mentality appears to be an area in which the norms of morality do not apply and where no thought or desire is due or forbidden: everyone is free to think what they please, without fear of retribution. How justified this provocative thesis of Sher is, we discuss at our seminar.

Speakers: Evgeny Loginov and Vlada Volkova.
Participants of the discussion: A. Besedin, O.Cherkashina, A.Yashin, A.Mertsalov, A. Kuznetsov, V.Vasilyev.