Monday, January 24, 2011

Paul Bloom Joins CT Forum Panel on The Brain

We are excited to announce that

Paul Bloom
Cognitive Scientist and Popular Yale Professor,
Author of How Pleasure Works
has joined our panel for The Glorious, Mysterious Brain on Friday, February 25, 2011.
He will be joined by Temple Grandin, renowned autism advocate and inspiration to millions, and Steven Pinker, author of The Blank Slate and How the Mind Works.

Paul Bloom is a distinguished cognitive scientist and award-winning author, most recently of the book, How Pleasure Works: The new science of why we like what we like and the May 2010 article in The New York Times Magazine, “The Moral Life of Babies.”
A popular professor of psychology and cognitive science at Yale University, Bloom’s research is wide ranging, including the study of morality, happiness, language, and pleasure.
In How Pleasure Works, Bloom argues that there are deep and surprising commonalities in the pleasures that we get from art, food, sex, stories, and consumer products.  His study of everyday morality and the factors that underlie moral conflict have addressed philosophical questions like, Where do our gut feelings about issues such as abortion, torture, and gay marriage come form? Do liberals think differently than conservatives? How much does religion matter?
Bloom believes that we can learn much about morality through the study of babies, chimpanzees, and psychopaths. In his article, “The Moral Life of Babies,” Bloom asserts that babies possess certain moral foundations, including the capacity and willingness to judge the actions of others, some sense of justice, and gut responses to altruism and nastiness.
In addition to How Pleasure Works, Bloom is the author of Descartes’ Baby: How the science of child development explains what makes us human. He has written more than 100 scientific articles in journals such as Nature and Science, and his popular writing has appeared in publications including The New York TimesThe GuardianThe American Scientist, Slate, and The Atlantic. His article in The Atlantic, “Is God an Accident?” was included in The Best American Science Writing 2006.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Obama's Call for Civility Resonates Here

Last night, President Obama made a speech in Tucson, eulogizing those who lost their lives in the shooting there over the weekend and calling for a new tone of "civil and honest public discourse [to] help us face up to our challenges as a nation..."

The speech was powerful because it was more than a memorial, but a call for a better America.

The speech resonated with us. This week we've talked together about how to process the tragedy. But we've also harbored hope, and the President's speech reminded us that we are right to do that. We believe deeply in his insistence we should use this occasion: "to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together." He reminded us that "for all our imperfections, we are full of decency and goodness, and that the forces that divide us are not as strong as those that unite us."

The Connecticut Forum believes that we are all in this together, and that when we can come together - even in disagreement - we can challenge assumptions, build bridges in our community and make the world just a little bit better. We've founded our organization on those beliefs and will continue to make them a part of what we do every day. We want to use President Obama's speech as a way to remember, yes, but also as a way to regroup and look forward.

Watch Obama's entire speech:

Or view a full text transcipt here.