Cooperation and Morals

Module Leader:
Gergely Kertész
2020-2021 Spring
Immersion 2
Skill Development

The course immerses students into theories of cooperation. On the one hand we will approach cooperation as an important driving force in the history of evolution and also of humans and so we will take a look at it from the point of view of evolutionary biology/psychology. On the other hand it is also our aim to take a look at cooperation from the point of view of moral theory.
Cooperation is at the heart of the success of our species and it seems that most of what morality is about is achieving cooperation among humans.
It is an objective fact that we are good cooperators and we are doing it much of the time, however not always. Therefore, it is important to understand, and to explain the causes of both our cooperative and competitive behavioural patterns.
As expert cooperators we expect each-other to conform to certain more or less altruistic behavioural patterns, we express disappointment and condemnation when confronted with deviations from these norms and praise behaviour that conforms to these norms. These norms can be made explicit in terms of moral principles the proper application of which helps us in maintaining our societies and can also be understood from the point of view of evolutionary theory as answers to certain evolutionary challenges.
When one aims to convince others to cooperate, or tries to create settings that motivate people to cooperate, knowledge of human nature and moral discourse is equally indispensable. So, anyone who aims to work with people, organizations or in a political context can benefit from the study of these topics.
The module is suitable for students with no or limited knowledge in the topic. Especially for people interested in biology, psychology, the basics of game theory and/or moral philosophy.