Professor's Course Notes
Conversations Between Science, Philosophy, and Religion
The course syllabus can be found here.
This course aims to understand recent interactions between the sciences, philosophy, and religion through four separate two-way “conversations”: 1) The philosophy of biology and the various issues it raises; 2) The evolution of the moral instinct – how did we become moral animals?; 3) The evolution of religion from anthropological and sociological perspective – how did we become religious animals?; and 4) Religious appeals to the sciences, through both “Intelligent Design” and other options provided by the sciences. In exploring these themes, we will hopefully achieve a sophisticated understanding of the best insights into areas of overlap between scientific, philosophical, and religious areas of study over the past 20 years. We will also develop critical perspectives vis-à-vis each field and the analytical skills associated with synthesizing and discussing sophisticated developments in multiple domains of thought.
Part I – From Philosophy to Biology: The Nature of Evolution
Reading: Moral Minds, pgs. 59-110
Reading: Moral Minds, pgs. 357-418
Also recommended: Research done by primatologists, such as Richard Wrangham, helps illuminate the evolution of prosocial behavior
Reading: Intelligent Design, pgs. 12-43
Reading: Intelligent Design, pgs. 58-71 and 154-165
Reading: Intelligent Design, pgs. 44-56 and 166-177
Thursday, April 22: No class – Final papers due