Syllabus - Attendance in class and participation in...

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Spring, 2011: Philosophy 2890 Philosophy of Biology Professor Joel Velasco Class meets Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:10-11:25 in 253 Malott Course Website: http://courses.cit.cornell.edu/jdv55/teaching/2890/ Description: This course will examine a range of philosophical questions that arise within the study of evolutionary biology. We’ll discuss questions concerning fitness, the units of selection, systematics, and adaptationism. We’ll then look at Sociobiology and Evolutionary Psychology with an eye toward thinking about humans and human nature. We will then consider what connection, if any, there is between evolution and ethics. Finally, we’ll consider the nature of the history of life and whether there is any sense to be made of progress in evolution and to what extent the history of life is radically contingent. Requirements:
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Unformatted text preview: Attendance in class and participation in discussion are required and will affect your grade. In addition to class presentations there will be one short paper, one medium-length paper, and one longer final paper. Office hours: My office hours are Mon 11:00-12:00 and Thur 3:00-4:00, or by appointment, in 228 Goldwin Smith Hall. Books available at the university bookstore: Kim Sterelny and Paul Griffiths, Sex and Death: An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology , University of Chicago Press, 1999 Tentative List of Topics: What is Evolutionary Theory? The Gene's Eye View of Evolution Evolution and Altruism What is an organism What is a species Adaptationism Sociobiology and Evolutionary Psychology Evolutionary Psychology and Sex Human Nature Evolution and Ethics Progress and Contingency in the History of Life...
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