Religious Studies | Studies in Religious Ethics: Evolution and Ethics
R571 | 27628 | L.Sideris

Are humans selfish or altruistic? Cooperative or competitive? Does
biology account for the existence and persistence of human morality
and religion? This course examines the wide range of interpretations
of evolutionary theory for human ethics and conceptions of human
nature. Our exploration of this topic will take us from the
Victorian period through the 20th Century and up to the present. We
will begin with Darwin's account of the evolution of human morality
in The Descent of Man and well as normative uses of Darwin's theory
by some of his own contemporaries (TH Huxley, Herbert Spencer);
recent uses of evolutionary theory in sociobiology and evolutionary
psychology (e.g. E.O. Wilson, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett), such
as debates about human selfishness and altruism, the impact, past
and present, of evolutionary theory on constructions of race and
gender; as well as current controversies over "Neo Darwinism" as a
materialistic, atheistic worldview. Assignments include short
response papers and a longer research paper, participation in
(seminar type) discussion. Meets with R473.