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?
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.
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.
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 limited...
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 limited to the lab.
Dear professor, the life is complicated and controversial .
It should be the duty of any school to get students ready for it.
In 3 weeks I haven't learnt anything new except for an interesting theory on differences in chimps and bonobos societies.
I don't know if I'm going to continue with this course. Have had enough of the experiments on animals. How moral is it?
Few students mentioned an upcoming course on human behaviour. Read an introduction and watched couple of videos with the instructor, loved it.
See you at "A Beginner's Guide to Irrational Behavior" !
Genevieve De Lacaze completed this course, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
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.
Dave Rawlings completed this course, spending 9 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
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.
LauraChurcher completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
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 completed this course, spending 1 hours a week on it.
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.
Anonymous completed this course.
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 in...
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 in this remote -- and to me somewhat foreign and antiseptic -- format. His lectures are well organized, interesting, packed with information, argument, sometimes conjecture, always engaging. They also move right along; on occasion a little too quickly but then one can pause the video and listen again. The readings and TED talks were relevant and interesting and of reasonable length. The guest lecture was a terrific bonus! And don't skip the "office hours" and I initially did; so glad I became curious enough to try one in week two -- and that got me hooked for it was a perfect format for delving further into some challenging issues, to explore nuance and admit uncertainty. (Refreshing to hear an expert in a field answer: "I don't know.") The Q&A format between professor and grad student, sitting in a home rather than standing in a classroom or lecture hall, still was professional yet also relaxed and conversational, and the two seemed to have a genuine respect for each other and for the students whose questions were addressed. I've already recommended the course to a few friends and I may well look for Prof. Bloom's next Coursera course (even if I no longer must hibernate).
Maxime Zabiégo completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very easy.
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 completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
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 is taking this course right now.
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 completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
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.
Roberto Altieri completed this course.
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.