Course: Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature w/ Tamar Gendler Dnatube

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Lec 1- Introduction to Philosophy and th ...

"Lec 1- Introduction"Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (PHIL 181) Professor Gendler explains the interdisciplinary nature of the course: work from philosophy, psychology, behavioral economics, and literature will be brought to bear on the topic of human nature. The three main topics of the course are introduced--happiness and flourishing, morality, and political philosophy--and...
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Lec 2 -The Ring of Gyges: Morality and H ...

"Lec 2 -The Ring of Gyges: Morality and Hypocrisy"Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (PHIL 181) After introducing Plato's Republic, Professor Gendler turns to the discussion of Glaucon's challenge in Book II. Glaucon challenges Socrates to defend his claim that acting justly (morally) is valuable in itself, not merely as a means to some other end (in this case, the reputation one...
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Lec 3 - Parts of the Soul I

"Lec 3 - Parts of the Soul I"Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (PHIL 181) Professor Gendler reviews four instances of intrapersonal divisions that have appeared in philosophy, literature, psychology, and neuroscience: Plato's division between reason, spirit, and appetite; Hume's division between reason and passion; Freud's division between id, ego, and superego; and four divisions...
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Lec 4 - Parts of the Soul II

"Lec 4 - Parts of the Soul II"Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (PHIL 181) Professor Gendler begins with a demonstration of sampling bias and a discussion of the problems it raises for empirical psychology. The lecture then returns to divisions of the soul, focusing on examples from contemporary research. The first are dual-processing accounts of cognition, which are introduced...
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Lec 5 - The Well-Ordered Soul: Happiness ...

"Lec 5 - The Well-Ordered Soul: Happiness and Harmony"Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (PHIL 181) Professor Gendler begins with a poll of the class about whether students have elected to take a voluntary no-Internet pledge, and distributes stickers to help students who have made the pledge stick to their resolve. She then moves to the substantive part of the lecture, where she...
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Lec 6 -The Disordered Soul: Thémis and PTSD

"Lec 6 -The Disordered Soul: Thémis and PTSD"Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (PHIL 181) Professor Gendler introduces Aristotle's conception of virtue as a structuring one's life so that one's instinctive responses line up with one's reflective commitments. Becoming virtuous, according to Aristotle, requires that we engage in a process of habituation by acting as if we were...
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Lec 7 - Flourishing and Attachment

"Lec 7 - Flourishing and Attachment"Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (PHIL 181) The discussion of the disordered soul continues with a reflection on the Stanley Milgram's famous studies, in which participants were directed to perform harmful actions that ran counter to their reflective moral commitments. Interestingly, such demands were more likely followed when the commander was...
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Lec 8 - Flourishing and Detachment

"Lec 8 - Flourishing and Detachment"Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (PHIL 181) Professor Gendler begins with a discussion of the Stoic philosopher Epictetus, who argued that once we recognize that some things are up to us and other things are not up to us, we can see that happiness requires detaching ourselves from our desires and focusing instead on our attitudes and...
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Lec 9 - Virtue and Habit I

"Lec 9 - Virtue and Habit I"Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (PHIL 181) We become virtuous by acting as if we are virtuous. This central insight of Aristotle is explored in this lecture. Professor Gendler begins by explaining how Aristotle's method can allow us to turn normative laws - which describe how we should act -- into descriptive laws -- which describe how we do act. But...
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Lec 11 - Virtue and Habit II

"Lec 11 - Virtue and Habit II"Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (PHIL 181) Although we become virtuous by acting as the virtuous person does, a close reading of Aristotle's text shows that, on his account, it is not enough to be virtuous that we act in certain ways. What's needed, according to Aristotle, is that you knowingly act virtuously for its own sake from a stable character,...
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Lec 11 - Weakness of the Will and Procr ...

"Lec 11 - Weakness of the Will and Procrastination"Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (PHIL 181) Professor Gendler begins with a review of the situationist critique of virtue ethics,which claims that character plays only a minimal role in determining behavior. She then presents some countervailing evidence suggesting that certain personality traits appear to be quite stable over...
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Lec 12 - Utilitarianism and its Critiques

"Lec 12 - Utilitarianism and its Critiques"Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (PHIL 181) Professor Gendler begins with a general introduction to moral theories--what are they and what questions do they answer? Three different moral theories are briefly sketched: virtue theories, deontological theories, and consequentialist theories. Professor Gendler introduces at greater length a...
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Lec 13 - Deontology

"Lec 13 - Deontology"Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (PHIL 181) Professor Gendler opens with a final criticism of Utilitarianism from Bernard Williams: in some cases, a good person should feel reluctant to do an act which brings about the greatest happiness, even if it is the right thing to do. The second half of the lecture introduces Kant's deontological moral theory. In...
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Lec 14 - The Trolley Problem

"Lec 14 - The Trolley Problem"Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (PHIL 181) The discussion of Kant from last lecture continues with a statement and explication of his first formulation of the categorical imperative: act only in such a way that you can will your maxim to be a universal law. Professor Gendler shows how Kant uses the categorical imperative to argue for particular moral...
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Lec 15 - Empirically-informed Responses

"Lec 15 - Empirically-informed Responses"Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (PHIL 181) The Trolley Problem, as discussed in the last lecture, is the problem of reconciling an apparent inconsistency in our moral intuitions: that while it is permissible to turn the runaway trolley to a track thus killing one to save five, it is impermissible to push a fat man onto the trolley track,...
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Lec 16 - Philosophical Puzzles

"Lec 16 - Philosophical Puzzles"Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (PHIL 181) In the first part of the lecture, Professor Gendler finishes up the discussion of non-standard responses to the Trolley Problem by presenting Cass Sunstein's proposed resolution. This is followed by a general discussion of heuristics and biases in the context of risk regulation. In the remainder of the...
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Lec 17 - Punishment I

"Lec 17 - Punishment I"Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (PHIL 181) Professor Gendler begins with a discussion of differing responses to hypothetical and actual examples, and offers an actual example of a Trolley Problem. Then, the central topic of the lecture, punishment, is presented. After offering a characterization of what civil punishment involves, Professor Gendler discusses...
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Lec 18 - Punishment II

"Lec 18 - Punishment II"Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (PHIL 181) The lecture begins with a consideration of the traditional consequentialist account of punishment---that punishment is justified by its deterrent effect on future crimes. Traditional criticisms of the view are presented, and John Rawls' two-level justification for punishment is offered as one possible way to avoid...
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Lec 19 - Contract & Commonwealth: Thoma ...

"Lec 19 - Contract & Commonwealth: Thomas Hobbes"Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (PHIL 181) In the opening part of the lecture, Professor Gendler concludes her discussion of punishment by exploring how Alan Kazdin's research on effective parenting provides insights about techniques for rehabilitating individuals who violate societal norms. She then moves to the third large unit...
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Lec 20 - The Prisoner's Dilemma

"Lec 20 - The Prisoner's Dilemma"Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (PHIL 181) Two game theoretical problems--the Prisoner's Dilemma and the Problem of the Commons--are explored in detail. Both collective decision-making scenarios are structured such that all parties making rational choices ensures a less desired outcome for each than if each had chosen individually-less-preferred...
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Lec 21 - Equality

"Lec 21 - Equality"Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (PHIL 181) The discussion of the legitimacy of government is continued with an introduction to a major 20th century work of political philosophy, John Rawls' A Theory of Justice. Professor Gendler explores John Rawls' central claims: that "justice is the first virtue of social institutions," and that the just society is that...
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Lec 22 -Equality II

"Lec 22 -Equality II"Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (PHIL 181) Robert Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia is presented as a counterpoint to Rawls' A Theory of Justice. In contrast to Rawls, who puts justice at the center of his theory, Nozick maintains that the primary notion should be rights or liberties. With that assumption in place, Nozick argues that a minimal state is the...
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Lec 23 - Social Structures

"Lec 23 - Social Structures"Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (PHIL 181) Professor Gendler begins by recapping the topic of state legitimacy and then offers a way of understanding the disagreement between Rawls and Nozick as one over what states ought to do given the phenomena of moral luck. She then turns to a discussion of how social and cultural structures influence both our...
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Lec 24 - Censorship

"Lec 24 - Censorship"Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (PHIL 181) Professor Gendler explores some aspects of the question of what sorts of non-rational persuasion are legitimate for a government to engage in. She begins with two modern examples that illustrate Plato's view on state censorship. She next turns to the text itself and outlines in detail Plato's argument that since we...
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Lec 25 -Tying up Loose Ends

"Lec 25 -Tying up Loose Ends"Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (PHIL 181) Professor Gendler begins with brief introductory remarks about the course's methodology, explaining the approach that was taken to reading and presenting various articles. She continues with a discussion of Cass Sunstein's work on social norms, looking particularly at his account of the willingness to...
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Lec Last - Concluding Lecture

"Lec Last - Concluding Lecture"Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (PHIL 181) In this concluding lecture, Professor Gendler charts four paths through the course. The first path traces how the course's three main goals were realized: the goals of introducing students to the discipline of Philosophy though a number of central texts; of considering certain central questions raised by...

Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature w/ Tamar Gendler


Source of these courses is Yale 
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.
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COURSE NAME: Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature w/ Tamar Gendler

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