History and Philosophy Of Science | Human and Nature
X320 | 7449 | Elisabeth Lloyd


Are we bad? Are we good? Does primate behavior inform us about our
own nature? Does biology tells us about our nature? Do we have a
nature?  If we do have a nature, can we study it scientifically or
is it better to do so introspectively? What are the consequences
fore social and political thought of different views about human
nature?

The nature of humanity is a subject that has intrigued thinkers
throughout history and this class will sample some of the classics
from this tradition. In the Twentieth Century human nature has
become the subject of scientific investigation and the core of this
class will focus on the recent history of the ‘science ‘ of human
nature and on some current scientific thinking on this topic.

We will explore several basic views about human nature. Readings
will include proposals about what it is to be human, and claims
about what all human beings have in common. Our topics will be draw
from the philosophical, political, anthropological, and biological
literature. Discussion will focus on understanding the implications
of views of human nature that are present in contemporary thought.