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Signature Courses

Human Nature and Human Diversity

SC Human Nature and Diversity

Human Nature and Human Diversity
01:730/185:253 (4 credits)
Core: 21C, AHo
Professor Stephen Stich, Philosophy, Cognitive Science

In an era of globalization everybody talks about diversity, but how much do you actually know about human nature and human diversity? 

Why is there so much diversity in sex and gender, race, diet, morality and norms, political views, religious beliefs, cognition, perceptions, and emotions?  Is this just human nature?  Are there any universals in human nature?  What explanations are offered by evolutionary psychology; environmental variability and cultural materialism; gene-culture co-evolution and the tribal instincts hypothesis; and social construction theories?  Does cognitive and perceptual diversity raise impenetrable barriers among people?

How should we react to human diversity and the moral controversies that specific diversities generate?  Should we respond from a position of moral objectivity, cultural relativism, or moral skepticism?  What is the role of reason, emotion, and intuition in moral judgment?

This course is particularly recommended for students who intend to pursue majors or minors in anthropology, area studies, art history, biological sciences, cognitive science, communication, comparative literature, criminal justice, English, history, languages, philosophy, political science, psychology, sociology, and women’s and gender studies.  This course carries credit toward the major and minor in philosophy.  Human Nature and Human Diversity can be used to meet the SAS Core Curriculum goals in 21st Century Challenges [21C] and Arts and Humanities [AHo].

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