The deep psychology of Eudaimonia and virtue: Belonging, loyalty and the anterior cingulate cortex

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Aristotle’s function argument suggests that the human good is found in the excellent expression of natural human functions and that virtues are the character strengths that make it possible to fulfill those functions. An evolutionary understanding of human nature recognizes humans as an ultrasocial species that features group living, cooperation, and profound interdependence. Group inclusion was essential to survival and reproduction during human evolution. Therefore, a social exclusion detector is an extremely important adaptation that enables the individual to monitor the threat of ostracism. Social exclusion activates a key part of the neural network that registers physical pain, the anterior cingulate cortex, making social exclusion literally painful. The human function of group living is fulfilled by activities that promote belonging, a central human good. Extensive research documents the essential role of belonging in human flourishing. The primary virtue associated with belonging is loyalty, and belonging is the direct, everyday expression of group membership.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationVarieties of Virtue Ethics
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Pages199-216
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781137591777
ISBN (Print)9781137591760
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

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