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Course Description

In his popular book, The Moral Landscape, neuroscientist Sam Harris makes a case for using science to determine human values. This course takes a different approach. The argument will start from human values?our internal longing for truth, love and beauty - and radiate out, using science and history to provide grounding for human free will and its manifestation in the ancient teachings of justice, mercy and awe at the majesty of the cosmos. The instructor will present findings from contemporary science, including neuroscience, cognitive psychology, physics, and evolutionary biology, to support the view: It is the practical and gritty human drive to do things better, rather than merely compete, that has resulted in, among other things, our growing scientific understanding of the cosmos. The class, will discuss recent research, together with writings of Darwin, Einstein, and Schrodinger, to examine the case for free will, and challenge participants to practice noticing the difference in their own lives as they more intentionally use the human potential for free will to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
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