Behavioural biologist Frans de Waal to give Freedom Lecture
Behavioural biologist Frans de Waal is to give this year's Freedom Lecture on 4 June in the Pieterskerk in Leiden. De Waal has many years of experience researching the behaviour of the species of anthropoid apes.
The title of De Waal’s lecture will be From Ape to to Angel:Bosch, Bonobos and Morality without God. He will demonstrate in his lecture that moral behaviour is older than mankind, an idea that has so far not gained general acceptance. ‘If we do our best, we can easily rise above our natural behaviour and become moral beings, but biology hasn’t made the task an easy one,’ according to De Waal.
- Innate morality
Based to some extent on his own research with anthropoids and elephants, De Waal demonstrates that empathy and a sense of fairness are not the prerogative of humans. The conclusion is that human morality may be more innate and natural than we thought. The fact that God isn’t necessary for morality is something that De Waal illustrated using the paintings of 15th-century artist Jeroen Bosch.
- Great Mind of Science
Frans de Waal has written a number of pioneering books about his research: iin 1982, Chimpanzee Politics appeared, and in 2009 The Age of Empathy. In 2007,Time magazine included him among the hundred most influential people of the present day, and Discover named him one of the 47 Great Minds of Science.
If you would like to attend the lecture, please refer to the website of the Freedom Lecture
- About the Freedom Lecture
The annual Freedom Lecture is a collaborative project of the Municipality of Leiden, Leiden University and the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC). The three partners’ intention with the Lecture is to emphasise the university city’s traditional association with the concept of freedom. This year’s lecture is being organised by the LUMC.
The lecture will be given in Dutch, with a simultaneous translation in English.