Theo Helm | September 28, 2017
Darcia Narvaez, professor of psychology in the University of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters and a fellow in the Institute for Educational Initiatives, is one of two winners of the first Expanded Reason Award and will receive the prize, including a substantial monetary award, at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in Vatican City on Sept.r 27.
Narvaez’s book, "Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality: Evolution, Culture and Wisdom," was chosen from among more than 360 total entries from 170 universities and 30 countries.
The award was established by University Francisco de Vitoria and the Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation to recognize innovation in scientific research and academic programs based on Benedict XVI’s proposal to broaden the horizons of reason. The university and foundation sought academic works that question and explicitly incorporate reflections on the anthropology, epistemology, ethics and meaning that exist within the specific science. Two awards were given for research, and two were given for academic programs.
"Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality: Evolution, Culture and Wisdom" outlines an evolutionary framework for early childhood experience that is grounded in developmental systems theory, encompassing not only genes but a wide array of inheritances and epigenetic factors. It describes the neurobiological bases for the development of distinctive moral mindsets, addressing ethical functioning at multiple levels of complexity and context before turning to a theory of the emergence of wisdom. Finally, it suggests that we honor the sociocultural orientations of our ancestors and cousins in small-band hunter-gatherer societies — the norm for 99 percent of human history — for a re-envisioning of an organic, sustainable moral life, from the way we value and organize child raising to how we cooperate with a living planet.