Human Nature and Society
9 units (3-0-6) | second term
This course will investigate how assumptions about human nature shape political philosophy, social institutions, and social policy. The course will begin with a historical perspective, examining the work of such political philosophers as Plato, Locke, Rousseau, and Marx, along with such psychologists as Freud and Skinner. Against this historical perspective, it will then turn to examine contemporary views on human nature from cognitive neuroscience and evolutionary psychology and explore their potential implications for political philosophy and social policy. Among topics to be discussed will be the nature of human sociality and cooperation; economic systems and assumptions regarding production and consumption; and propaganda, marketing, and manipulation.
The online version of the Caltech Catalog is provided as a convenience; however, the printed version is the only authoritative source of information about course offerings, option requirements, graduation requirements, and other important topics.