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What makes humans moral beings? This question can be understood either as a proximate “how” question or as an ultimate “why” question. The “how” question, which is about the mental and social mechanisms that produce moral judgments has been investigated by psychologists and social scientists. The “why” question, which is about the fitness consequences that explain why humans have morality, has been discussed by evolutionary biologists in the context of the evolution of cooperation. The goal of this summer school is to contribute to a fruitful articulation of such proximate and ultimate explanations of human morality.
The school will be taught by internationally renowned experts interested in both ultimate and proximate questions, from evolutionary biology (Jean-Baptiste André, Redouan Bshary), comparative psychology*(Keith Jensen), evolutionary psychology (Nicolas Baumard, Leda Cosmides, John Tooby) to cognitive
neuroscience (Molly Crockett), developmental psychology (Paul Bloom, Gergely Csibra, Karen Wynn), cognitive psychology (Fiery Cushman) and cognitive anthropology (Dan Sperber).
Alongside the regular program of the course there will be talks and discussions aimed at the general public held by invited speakers, including the cognitive anthropologist, Pascal Boyer.
The design of the course stresses highly interactive forms of teaching. The course will begin with introductory lectures to build common ground between the researchers from different disciplines. After the introductions, all segments will be held in a seminar format, with faculty members leading the seminar, and responses/commentaries delivered by teams of students. There will be specific time devoted to smaller group discussions, also led by a member of the faculty, and also opportunities for selected students to give talks and poster presentations.
The summer course is aimed at providing a state-of-the-art cutting-edge scientific and research-oriented training for post-doctoral young researchers and highly promising pre-doctoral students from European and overseas universities and research institutes on the evolutionary and psychological bases of morality.