Free will, nature, and nurture
write a full 8-page essay (no heading, title only).
Write a clear thesis and answer to ALL parts of the essay question.
carefully read the instruction document for detail.
Where do moral beliefs and actions come from? Explain the origins of both the similarities and the differences in the morality of both individuals and societies. Be
sure to address each of the three broad categories of free will, nature, and nurture. In addition to whatever insights you can glean from the lectures and readings
from the quarter, you will respond to (but also go beyond) at least TWO of the following five books:
1. Meghan Griffith, Free Will: The Basics, especially chapters 1-2, 4-5, and 8
2. Christopher Boehm, Moral Origins: The Evolution of Virtue, Altruism, and Shame,
especially chapters 1-3, 7-8, and 12
3. Paul Bloom, Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil, especially the preface and
4. Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and
Religion, especially the introduction and chapters 1-3 and 5-6
5. James Kellenberger, Moral Relativism: A Dialogue, especially chapters 1-2 and 4
You don’t need to read all of them. Just read book reviews and summaries online to get the idea. But you need to address at least two of the books.
You will submit the paper online through the course’s Canvas site. (Note that this is a change from the syllabus, where I had asked for a hard copy.) Your papers, in
turn, will be filtered through Turnitin, a plagiarism detection service. The expected length for the paper is 8-10 double-spaced pages, 12 point font.
The point breakdown is as follows: style: 15; creativity: 10; content: 75
Use direct quotes sparingly, if at all. Be sure to cite all outside material appropriately with parenthetical citations rather than footnotes or endnotes, and then
include a bibliography at the end. You needn’t cite the lectures unless you’ll pulling from them a specific piece of information (e.g., “Based on brain scans, Kanai
et al. were able to correctly classify 72% of their subjects as either liberals or conservatives (Lecture 3/4/15).” Also, don’t use footnotes or endnotes for
clarifications or extensions of your points; your paper must flow as a single, smooth narrative.
Below link has power point slides and recordings of all of our lectures.
Note that you must touch on EACH of the following (though you needn’t spend equal time on all of them):
? similarities across societies
? similarities across individuals
? differences across societies
? differences across individuals
? free will
? responding to at least two of the books (and more of them, if you find it useful)
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