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Yale University

Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature

Yale University via YouTube


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.


1. Introduction.
2. The Ring of Gyges: Morality and Hypocrisy.
3. Parts of the Soul I.
4. Parts of the Soul II.
5. The Well-Ordered Soul: Happiness and Harmony.
6. The Disordered Soul: Thémis and PTSD.
7. Flourishing and Attachment.
8. Flourishing and Detachment.
9. Virtue and Habit I.
10. Virtue and Habit II.
11. Weakness of the Will and Procrastination.
12. Utilitarianism and its Critiques.
13. Deontology.
14. The Trolley Problem.
15. Empirically-informed Responses.
16. Philosophical Puzzles.
17. Punishment I.
18. Punishment II.
19. Contract & Commonwealth: Thomas Hobbes.
20. The Prisoner's Dilemma.
21. Equality.
22. Equality II.
23. Social Structures.
24. Censorship.
25. Tying up Loose Ends.
26. Concluding Lecture.

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4.5 rating, based on 2 Class Central reviews

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  • Having done this course has changed my view of humanity in general and am as such so excited to have it though previously, i have been so interested in it and have been reading the materials.
    how can i get a certificate for this course?
  • Mary Frances Easterling
    I found this after taking other courses on some of this material to be one of the best integrations of the main philosophical theories to date.

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