Are Humans Innately Moral? Essay

1038 Words Mar 28th, 2016 5 Pages
Are humans innately moral? Dr. Paul Zak believes he has identified the chemical responsible for moral behavior. With the aid of psychological and biological experiments, Zak believes the oxytocin, a neurotransmitter, allows us to exhibit moral behaviors such as empathy and trustworthiness. Paul Zak, inspired by his own mother’s morality, wondered whether the morality of his sweet mother was a shared characteristic amongst other humans. In order to examine such question, Zak looked for shared characteristics within the brain. Thus, he began searching for a chemical answer for our mortality because the brain’s neurotransmitters are relatively the same in all humans. Ten years later Zak claimed he had discovered the “moral molecule” which he believed was oxytocin. At the time Zak’s discovery, oxytocin was not a new molecule, but rather an old molecule specific to mammals. In human females oxytocin facilitates birth and breast-feeding and is released in both sexes during sex. The role of oxytocin is quite different in humans compared to other mammals. For example, oxytocin stimulates female rodents to foster their young. Hence, oxytocin affects a variety of processes within mammals. Oxytocin’s prevalence forced Dr. Zak to consider the correlation between oxytocin and moral behavior. Dr. Zak found it easy to experimentally manipulate oxytocin because its molecular properties are well known. However, Dr. Zak struggled to design an experiment with the ability to measure…

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