Concepts of Human Nature

Derek A. Leben, Concepts of Human Nature, Spring 2017

Course Description:

This course will examine different historical views of human nature and critically evaluate them. Discovering what features are natural to humans is important for personal identity, political planning, ethical treatment of humans and animals, and determining the impacts of medicines and technologies. We will discuss seven views, which characterize humans as essentially:

1. Noble Animals
2. Satisfiers (of appetites, emotions, happiness)
3. Makers
4. Environmental Products
5. Evolutionary Products
6. Machines
7. Experiencers

Texts:

All readings will be provided electronically through Courseweb! I am asking that, in appreciation for not needing to buy books, you please go to the trouble of reading the texts. You can pass the class without doing the readings, but why would you want to? These are some of the most important things ever written in human history, and now is your opportunity to read them!

Syllabus: 

Derek A. Leben, Concepts Of Human Nature, Spring 2015

Course Description:

An introduction to some ways in which ethical and social thought has been influenced by different views of human nature. Readings are from such authors as Plato, Hobbes, Rousseau, Marx, and Freud.

Required Texts:

-The Study of Human Nature edited by Leslie Stevenson
-Walden Two by B.F. Skinner
-The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen Jay Gould
-The Better Angels of Our Natures by Steven Pinker

Derek A. Leben, Concepts Of Human Nature, Spring 2014

Course Description:

An introduction to some ways in which ethical and social thought has been influenced by different views of human nature. Readings are from such authors as Plato, Hobbes, Rousseau, Marx, and Freud.

Required Texts:

Walden Two by B.F. Skinner
The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen Jay Gould
The Better Angels of Our Natures by Steven Pinker
Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche

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