Course Introduction by Prof. Richard Holton

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Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session


This course is an examination of philosophical theories of action and motivation in the light of empirical findings from social psychology, sociology and neuroscience. Topics include belief, desire, and moral motivation; sympathy and empathy; intentions and other committing states; strength of will and weakness of will; free will; addiction and compulsion; guilt, shame and regret; evil; self-knowledge and self-deception; and, virtues and character traits.

This course is a CI-M course.


There are no prerequisites for this course.


There are no required textbooks for the course. The readings will consist of excerpts and papers.


Assessment will be by means of three short papers (5-7 pages) and a class presentation. At least one paper (normally the first) will be revised and resubmitted. To fulfill the communication (CI) requirements, part of the second session each week will consist of student presentations on pre-assigned texts.


Paper 1 25%
Paper 2 25%
Paper 3 25%
Class presentation 25%