WesMaps - Wesleyan University Catalog 2007-2008       Summer Session       Winter Session       Home       Archive       Search
Animal Minds
PHIL 357
Fall 2007
Section: 01  
This course may be repeated for credit.

Can nonhuman primates, particularly great apes, engage in moral reasoning? Do they act ethically? What can other primates tell us about the origins of human ethical practice? Perhaps ethical reasoning is unique to our own species. It requires, for example, considerable social intelligence, including the ability to see oneself in another's position, the ability to be introspective about one's own behavior, and the ability to form, nurture, and maintain complex social relationships in which the well-being of one's friends and associates is an essential component. Nevertheless, apparent examples of caring and empathetic behavior do exist, not only in other apes, but in monkeys and even in nonprimate species. In contrast, members of our own species often seem to behave as if they lack insight and a sense of justice, not only toward other species, but also toward members of our own species. We will adopt a largely comparative perspective and examine philosophical, scientific, psychological, and popular writing about the relation of humans to the other apes. We will focus especially on the evidence for ethical reasoning and complex social relationships in humans and other primates, their possible origins, and the implications for the future survival of our primate kin and, ultimately, our own survival.

Essential Capabilities: None
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA PHIL
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (PHIL)(PHIL-Philosophy)(PHIL-Social Jus)(SISP-Phil Ethic)(SISP-Phil Mind)
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on MAY-29-2022
Contact wesmaps@wesleyan.edu to submit comments or suggestions. Please include a url, course title, faculty name or other page reference in your email ? Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, 06459