The discussion of the disordered soul continues with a reflection on the Stanley Milgram’s famous studies, in which participants were directed to perform harmful actions that ran counter to their reflective moral commitments. Interestingly, such demands were more likely followed when the commander was closer to the subject and the victim further away. What is it about proximity to others that has this effect on us? Professor Gendler goes on to discuss the relationship between social attachment and human flourishing, reviewing Harlow’s wire mother/cloth mother experiments on non-human primates, studies of attachment styles in infants, and cross-cultural research demonstrating the importance of social relationships for flourishing and health.
Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature pairs central texts from Western philosophical tradition (including works by Plato, Aristotle, Epictetus, Hobbes, Kant, Mill, Rawls, and Nozick) with recent findings in cognitive science and related fields. The course is structured around three intertwined sets of topics: Happiness and Flourishing; Morality and Justice; and Political Legitimacy and Social Structures.