Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature pairs central texts from Western philosophical tradition (including works by Plato, Aristotle, Epictetus, Hobbes, Kant, Mill, Rawls, and Nozick) with recent findings in cognitive science and related fields. The course is structured around three intertwined sets of topics: Happiness and Flourishing; Morality and Justice; and Political Legitimacy and Social Structures.
The Experts in Emotion Series provides a unique opportunity to explore the mysteries of human emotion guided by some of the world’s foremost experts on the subject, ranging from distinguished academics to leading figures behind social media services like Facebook. In addition to tackling central questions such as what emotions are, why we have them, and how our understanding of them can lead to happier and healthier lives. You’ll also hear first-hand about what first led these key players to study emotion and what they see as the most exciting frontiers ahead.
What are our emotions? What purpose do they serve? How do emotions relate to our thoughts, memories, and behaviors towards others? What happens when our emotional responses go awry?
Although these questions date back to early philosophical texts, only recently have experimental psychologists begun to explore this vast and exciting domain of study. The course will begin by discussing the evolutionary origins of distinct emotions such as love, anger, fear, and disgust. We will ask how emotions might color our cognitive processes such as thinking and memory, the relationship between emotions and the brain, development of emotions in childhood, and how emotions shape our social relationships. We will also consider how these methods can be applied to studying mental illness in both children and adults. The course will conclude by studying the pursuit of happiness and well-being, trying to understand what makes us happy.