Sunday, September 17, 2006

Biology, Brooks, and Sex (Oh, My!)

Somewhere there exists a "free" copy of David Brooks' piece printed 9/17/06. (It's a Times Select article, available with on-line subscription.)

"Is Chemistry Destiny?" is a fascinating read. In it Brooks explores a book by Louann Brizendine The Female Brain. In it, Brizendine delineates various stages of life in the female brain as well as the level of certain chemicals at those stages. Briefly, a case is made that brain chemistry might very well be destiny.

As usual, one might find a quibble with Mr. Brooks' thinking lodged where he goes a bit too far in his opining. Today it's what he doesn't explicitly say at the end of this quote: This new understanding both validates ancient stereotypes about the sexes, and fuzzes up moral judgments about human responsibility (biology inclines individuals toward certain virtues and vices).

Yes, but remember, oh faithful reader(s?), virtues and vices are both subjective, while the level of brain chemicals is beyond the power of the individual. That is a significant point in the discussion of behavior.

Is your virtue my vice? If so, on what legitimate basis? And what makes it not my legitimate virtue instead of your legitimate vice?

Have fun.

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