I590 : Special Seminar in the Cognitive & Social Sciences

Fall 2015
Tocqueville Room, Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, 513 N. Park Ave
Mondays, 5:30—8:00 pm
Professor Simon DeDeo

A special seminar devoted to readings at the intersection of the cognitive and social sciences. We will meet once a week, and the course will be discussion-based in the Harkness/St. John’s style. At the end of the course, students will have a deeper understanding of the relationship between individual cognition and group-level behavior. Readings are conceptual, and no mathematics is required or assumed.

Tea will be served.

Class guidelines and secrets to success


v.1.1; book list fixed.

August 24:
Opening Discussion, Course Goals, How to Harkness
Thomas Hobbes, Human Nature

August 31:
Michael Tomasello, Natural History of Human Thinking

September 7:
Labor Day; no class.

September 14:
Robert Bellah & Hans Joas, The Axial Age and Its Consequences (Ch. 1—5)

September 21:
Sam Bowles, Machiavelli’s Mistake

September 28:
No seminar / ASU Complex Systems Society Meeting

October 5:
Economic Credit in Renaissance Florence (John Padgett & Paul McLean, 2011)
The Birth of Partnership Systems in Renaissance Florence (ibid, 2006)

October 12:
Readings from the American Historical Review
Paradigms and Paranoia (Rebecca Spang; 2003)
Emotions, Facultative Adaptation, and the History of Homicide (Randolph Roth; “History Meets Biology”, 2014)
The Sentimental Family: A Biohistorical Perspective (Kyle Harper; ibid)
Coevolutionary History (Edmund Russell; ibid)
The Self and Its History (Lynn Hunt; ibid)
[visiting guest: Rebecca Spang, IU Department of History]

October 19:
Brian Skyrms, Evolution of the Social Contract (2nd Ed.)
[note Brian Skyrms colloq; 4:00-5:00 PM in Psychology Room 101 at 1101 E. 10th St.]

October 26:
Michael Chwe, Rational Ritual

November 2:
Eula Biss, On Immunity: an Innoculation
[visiting guest: Sam Scarpino, Santa Fe Institute & University of Vermont Complex Systems]

November 9:
No seminar; blog posts due Friday 6 November 6 pm; refine & resubmit until Friday 13 November 6 pm deadline.

November 16:
John Searle, Rationality in Action (Ch. 1—5)
[visiting guest: Kirk Ludwig, IU Department of Philosophy]
[Thanksgiving break]

November 30:
First draft of final paper due Friday, December 4th, 6 pm.
Martha Nussbaum, Political Emotions (Parts II & III)

December 7:
John Searle, The Logical Structure of Human Civilization
(2014 Patten Lectures at Indiana University)

Final papers due December 14th
Total book cost (amazon prices): $145.85
As I own all these books, I am happy to loan you mine for a few hours to run copies (as the law, etc., permits).