In cruelty neuroscientist kathleen taylor explores the factors behind violence sexual abuse genocide and other atrocities drawing on history politics philosophy psychology and especially neuroscience she sets cruelty in the context of human evolution and our current understanding of brain function. Cruelty then is basically a too aggressive response from our symbolic immune system its a wild funny terrifying scientific ride through sadism and evil and pain and suffering and threat responses and neural pathways and a human history filled with tragic examples of cruelty rather than dark or depressing i found it liberating and hopeful. Causal webs are woven in human brains to get a deeper view of cruelty therefore means plunging our attention into a sea of neurons the soggy fatty mass from which cruelty is born p 89 taylor says that taking this plunge involves recognizing that brains are phenomenally complicated p 91. Kathleen taylor in cruelty human evil and the human brain defines cruelty as unjustified voluntary behaviour which causes foreseeable suffering to an undeserving victim and then seeks to question how cruelty maps into neural patterns
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