2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Jul 14, 2024  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

PHL 383 - Philosophy of Human Nature

What makes humans unique? Many branches of science have made progress on this question, but most of the answers are both partial and controversial. Our goal in this class will be to survey some of the most influential answers, evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, and fit them together into a coherent theoretical framework. We will have to synthesize information from a diverse range of sciences, including developmental psychology, behavior genetics, evolutionary biology, and cultural anthropology. In order to impose some structure on this vast collection of ideas, we will organize the course around the venerable nature/nurture debate. Those on the nature side defend the idea that human uniqueness results primarily from our genetic, biological heritage. They think we have complex culture because our biology makes us smart. Those on the nurture side say that cultural and environmental factors are more influential. They think that we are smart because we have complex culture. As we assess this fascinating and occasionally fierce controversy, your job will be to stay open-minded, and to learn as much as you can from both sides.
Credits: 3
Offered in Spring Semester