Primate Ethics/Primate Minds|
Spring 2007 not offered
|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 ones' own behavior, and the ability to form, nurture and maintain complex social relationships in which the well-being of one's friends and associates are essential components. 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 towards other species, but also towards 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 be focusing 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.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (PHIL)(PHIL-Philosophy)(PHIL-Social Jus)(SISP-Phil Ethic)(SISP-Phil Mind)
Allen and Bekoff, SPECIES OF MIND (MIT, 1997) and work by Byrne, Dennett, DeWaal, Dretske, Hauser, Hayes, Heale, Povinelli, Shettleworth, Sterlny, and Whiten, among others.
|Examination and Assignments: |
Seminar papers, presentations, and a final paper.