Course Meeting Times:

2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session


9.00 Introduction to Psychology, 9.01 Introduction to Neuroscience; 9.10 Cognitive Neuroscience, 9.20 Animal Behavior, or 9.85 Infant and Early Childhood Cognition; Preference to juniors and seniors, and BCS majors.

The aim of this course is to give students skills and practice making and evaluating arguments from scientific evidence about morality and the brain.

There will be almost no lecturing. In class time is used for an in-depth discussion of topics in the readings. Students will prepare the contributions to these discussions, guided by the weekly exercises and based on the assigned readings.

Each student will work on one final essay over the whole semester, progressively developing a sophisticated, well-written argument based on scientific data.

The final exam will test skills developed in the course to think about these hard probilems creatively, rigorously and synthetically, and develop a verbal argument in real time.


Assignment Grade
Weekly Exercises 20 points; 2 points/week
Final Essay: Proposal 5 points
Final Essay: Draft 1 and Reading Plan 10 points
Final Essay: Draft 2 10 points
Final Essay 25 points
Final Exam 30 points

Ethics and Etiquette

I value mutual respect and trust between teachers and students. I enjoy working hard to teach students who are working hard to learn. I promise to do my best to make the classes engaging, and to adapt to your feedback. I expect you to arrive on time, so you don't disrupt the class, and to devote genuine intellectual energy to the material.

All written work must be 100% your own original writing. Copying sentences or ideas from other students or from any other source is plagiarism. Plagiarism is unfair (to the other students) and disrespectful (to the intellectual challenge of the course), and I take it seriously