The Great Debate: Of Blank Slates and Zombies
(Modern Theories of Human Nature)
Day school: Saturday 13th March 2004
Human Nature: The Story So Far by Caspar Hewett
Of Blank Slates and Zombies - Modern Theories of
Human Nature by Caspar Hewett
What Science Can and Cannot Tell Us About Human Nature
by Caspar Hewett
Philosophical Overview: Body, Spirit, Zombie by David Large
Having Your Cake Before Itís Made by David Large
Do we need a biological theory of human nature? by David Large
International Centre for Life
Times Square, Newcastle upon Tyne
Tutors: Dr Caspar Hewett and David Large
Is there a universal human nature? If so, what defines it?
consciousness? Is it our capacity for rational thought?
Is it our ability to adapt our environment rather than adapt to it?
In recent years there has been an explosion of knowledge about our
genes and our brains which is revolutionising the way we view ourselves. This has given
rise to a whole range of claims and counter claims about human nature. Some argue that
only the social sciences can answer questions about what we are. Others argue that new
developments in neurobiology and artificial intelligence will be able to reveal our nature.
One recent theory, Evolutionary Psychology, attempts to explain human nature exclusively in
terms of evolved predispositions to behave in a particular way.
So where are the appropriate places to look if we want to understand
human nature? What are the implications?
This one day course will examine some modern ideas of what human nature
is and will attempt to draw some conclusions about these questions. Come along, join the
discussion and have your say.
Man, Beast and Zombie by Kenan Malik
The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker
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