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Yale University

Moralities of Everyday Life

Yale University via Coursera


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How can we explain kindness and cruelty? Where does our sense of right and wrong come from? Why do people so often disagree about moral issues? This course explores the psychological foundations of our moral lives.


  • Welcome to Moralities of Everyday Life!
  • The Big Questions
    • What is morality, anyway? What are the big debates in the field of moral psychology?
  • Compassion
    • Where does concern for others come from? How is it related to empathy—and is more empathy necessarily a good thing? And what can we learn from the study of those who seemingly lack normal moral feelings, such as violent psychopaths?
  • Origins of Morality
    • Here, we ask about which aspects of morality are universal. We discuss evolution, cross-cultural research, and the fascinating new science of the moral life of babies.
  • Differences
    • How does culture influence our moral thought and moral action? What role does religion play? Why are some of us conservative and others liberal, and how do political differences influence our sense of right and wrong?
  • Family, Friends, and Strangers
    • Our moral feelings are usually most powerful towards our kin (such as our parents and our children) and our friends and allies. We will discuss these special bonds, and then turn to the morality of racial and ethnic bias. Then we use the tools of behavioral economics to explore the controversial question of whether we are ever truly altruistic to strangers.
  • The Big Answers
    • We’ll discuss some clever studies that show how our moral behavior is powerfully influenced—often at the unconscious level—by the situations that we find ourselves in. Such findings raise some hard problems about determinism, free will, and moral responsibility. Most of all, if our actions are determined by our brains, our genes, and our situations, in what sense can we be said to be moral agents? The course will end by trying to address this question.

Taught by

Paul Bloom


4.8 rating, based on 42 Class Central reviews

4.8 rating at Coursera based on 3254 ratings

Start your review of Moralities of Everyday Life

  • Anonymous
    One of those academic courses that stays away from reality. Professor Bloom actually pointed out that this is intentional. He doesn't want to discuss controversial topics as they initiate fights and anger on forums . Consequently, the knowledge is l…
  • Professor Paul Bloom is an incredible teacher, I learned so much about human phsicology and the way that we view morality, it´s amazing how well thought and detailed is the program and it's dynamics because of how interactive it is.

    Honestly, 10/10
  • Really good course. The teacher explains very clearly each concept and idea. His choice of topics is really interesting and challenging. I enjoyed very much.
  • I finished this course like you finish a great book: with sadness of leaving it behind and happiness of having it within. I did take a lot of notes and researched further the topics and arguments presented but that was pure joy, really. I really liked that they kept things simple. Prof Bloom was fun and easy to follow. I'd love a part 2.
  • LauraChurcher
    Really enjoyed this course - this was not a subject I had any familiarity with and I thought it was a great introduction to ethics and the philosophical study of morality. There was a good variety of articles in the readings and guest lectures. Would love there to be more material than there was.
  • Hailey Meinen
    I was not able to access the quiz material (free version) so I don't know how difficult the course is. However, I found the material very interesting and the lectures made good use of various resources. A bit long- I watched the videos on double speed and was able to catch the information well.
  • Excellent! Very interesting subject and a very fresh perspective on it! Professor Bloom excels at explaining complex notions to the non-expert.
  • An interesting course that comes from mainly a social psychology viewpoint, with a bit of philosophy thrown in. The quizzes cover the ground well (there is one for each week). As it is 6 years since the course first ran, the discussion boards are understandably fairly silent - although great credit for there being an active mentor on them. The main format is lectures, which are reasonably engaging, supplemented by readings/TED talks - 2 or 3 a week. I got a lot out of the course and it made me think about some moral issues that I wouldn't have previously thought about in the same depth.
  • Anonymous
    I audited this course during weeks of covid-19 isolation - and loved it! I did the assigned readings & TED talks, but was very glad to skip the exams. Prof. Bloom is a gifted, even at times an eloquent instructor; he knows how to engage his students…
  • Anonymous
    Great course. Prof. Bloom is a knowledgeable and fun teacher. I learned so much about psychology, social psychology, evolutionary psychology, and ethics! I highly recommend it!
  • Very organized, engaging teacher who gave a lot of information about the current state of research. It is mainly lectures, some reading, and a quiz per week.
  • Taich
    Excellent course that covers sociological research and theory regarding morality and decision-making. Well presented and appropriate level of presentations and extra reading.
  • Anonymous
    The accompanying book "Just Babies" is amazing!
  • Anonymous
    Was worth every minute I spent watching this class!
  • Both informative and entertaining. Professor Bloom is very good at capturing his audience and listening to him is was a real pleasure.

    Owing to lack of time, I didn't participate in forum discussions, but just watching the course videos and browsing complementary resources proved very valuable. I have prof. Bloom's book in my chart for further reading and I'll definitely look for other courses / talks from him.
  • Elizabeth Simmons
    This course was fascinating! I audited this course with a friend and months later we are still discussing it. It provides insights into so many facets of life, illuminates the psychology behind social phenomena and ourselves.
  • Anonymous
    Amazing, thought-provoking course! Love the informative and interesting content and the occasional humor of Prof. Bloom ;)
    Would suggest more images and powerpoint slides in lectures though but still great.
  • Teresa Tse
    Extremely interesting course focusing mostly on the psychology of morality. It goes into a bit of the philosophy and evolution of morality, and I wish it would have gone into more depth on these subjects.
  • Profile image for Roberto Altieri
    Roberto Altieri
    Really good introductory course on moral psychology (and a bit of philosophy). I learned the fundamentals and got curious enough to keep studying. Prof. Bloom is great.
  • Kamble Asawari Dayanand
    This course would surely help me a lot in the near future. Easy to understand.
    Thank you for this lesson.
    Would surely recommend this to others as well.

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