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The Evolutionary Psychology of Morality   

Historically, morality has been studied as if it were a human invention. This has been the approach of philosophical thinking and writing in the field of ethics for over 2,000 years. Recently, however, biologists have been studying morality as an adaptation, attempting to discover how morality functions and how it evolved. We will examine six types of moral adaptation, all of which share a commonality: they enhance survivorship and reproductive success. Genetically based traits that enhance survivorship and reproduction will pass on copies of genes that produce those traits in their offspring. Over time, the traits and the suite of genes producing them will increase. Seven sessions cover 1) evolution and misconceptions, 2) genes and behavior, 3) Jonathan Haidt’s six dimensions of morality, 4) kin selection and caring, 5) reciprocal altruism and fairness, 6) xenophobia and disgust, and 7) hierarchy and liberty. Classes will include readings, videos, and lectures.

 
  • The Evolutionary Psychology of Morality
  • Item Number: W24STEM140
    Dates: 1/9/2024 - 2/27/2024
    Times: 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
    Days: Tu
    Sessions: 8
    Maximum Enrollment:  40
    Building: n/a: online course
    Room: Online (Zoom)
    Instructor: Dave Ferguson
    Registration for this course is closed. 
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