In this course we'll investigate what makes us human. We'll ask ourselves such questions as: "What is rationality, and to what extent are we distinctively rational?"; "What is happiness, and is it attainable for us, given our nature?"; "What is the relation between human nature and our other identities, for instance gender?"; and "Can human nature change?" We'll pause to consider whether and how the facts we unearth in our investigation matter for ethical theory: How might our duties change in light of what we find out about human nature through descriptive metaphysics and the natural sciences? Might there instead be moral pressure to adopt a particular conception of our humanity? Readings will be culled primarily from the philosophical canon, though will also incorporate work in evolutionary biology and the cognitive and social sciences. No prior study in philosophy is presupposed.
- Grading Basis: Letter Grade or Credit/No Credit