The aim of the course is to gain a solid grasp of the current literature on the topics covered, as well as further training in the critical analysis of arguments made in current debates and the development of an independent point of view within these debates.
This course is part of the in-depth courses and minor Wat is de mens.|
LAS and TCS students who follow this course as part of the core curriculum of their major, need to complete a compulsory preparation course/assignment. See for more information: https://tcs.sites.uu.nl/
Approaches to ethics and politics are built on a variety of assumptions about human nature. Those who see human beings as essentially irrational, selfish, aggressive, and short-sighted support political systems and ethical theories that differ markedly from what is defended by those who emphasize human autonomy, rationality, compassion, and dignity. In this course, we examine how conceptions of human nature frame contemporary debates in ethics and politics regarding, for example, the conditions for a well-functioning democracy, the psychologically realistic limits on moral responsibility, the appropriateness of state paternalism, the permissibility of enhancement, and the legitimacy of attributing rights only to humans. Attention will also be paid to the role that social practices and institutions can play in supporting or undermining the human capabilities presupposed by the various public policies advocated in these debates.