Evolution, Genetics and Behaviour
Professor Nikolai Krementsov
This seminar examines historical developments of three major biological concepts--evolution, heredity, and behavior--and their impact on the understanding of human nature, humans’ place in the universe, and human destiny within the Western intellectual tradition.
The seminar explores how cultural and social views have influenced the development of biology from the late 19th to the early 21st centuries and, in turn, how this development has influenced societal interpretations of human nature and human evolution. The seminar is structured thematically and chronologically around a series of classic works by prominent Western biologists, ranging from Charles Darwin to J.B.S. Haldane to Francis Crick.
Through a close reading of these works in their historical, scientific, and social contexts, we examine different views on the control of human evolution and genetic manipulation and analyze historical debates about the social implications of knowledge about human heredity, behavior, and evolution. Major topics of discussions include evolution, eugenics, genetics, molecular biology, as well as their applications, including genetic screening, therapy, enhancement, and counseling.
Exclusion: HPS260H1, HMB444H1; VIC107H1
Distribution Requirement: Humanities; Social Science
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)
Models frame our understanding and treatment of illness and are the most fundamental element of the scientific method. Theology, history, and literature may use models in different ways than natural and medical sciences but fundamentally all modelling is an attempt to accurately predict and manipulate the future.
Distribution Requirement: Humanities