COULD we? Should we? Take a pill to make us better human beings?
What if we knew that empathy with our fellows was influenced by chemicals in our brain, and by taking a pill we could increase concentrations of this chemical and so change our social behaviour for ‘the better’…?
Local residents have been grappling with these and other tantalising philosophical questions at the Wonthaggi library over six fortnightly sessions on Saturday afternoons.
The nature of morality; free will; our place in the universe; genetic modification and understanding human nature are some of the questions the ever-expanding group has tackled, ably facilitated by Richard Kentwell. As discussion-starters, Richard uses short articles drawn from a book edited by Australia’s own pre-eminent philosopher, Peter Singer. The articles only take a few minutes to read but are good prompts to get people thinking.
Enthusiastic comments heard at the end of these sessions:
“We can’t solve the problems but it’s great just being able to discuss them and get new insights.”
“What a great idea these sessions are; my head is buzzing!”
“I just love being able to talk about these kinds of issues with other people.”
There are four remaining sessions in the Ethics at the Library program: today (July 8), July 22, and August 12 and 26 at 2pm at Wonthaggi Library. Anyone interested in joining the discussions can drop in to the library to collect the next relevant article – or just turn up on the day, ready to discuss and debate.