Spring, 2011

Instructor: Larry Arnhart

Office: Zulauf Hall 404

Office telephone: 815-753-7049

Email: larnhart@niu.edu

Office hours:  Monday & Friday, 1:30 pm—2:30 pm, Tuesday & Thursday, 3:30 pm—4:30 pm, other times by appointment



Wednesdays, 3:30-6:10 pm, DuSable Hall 466



Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 2nd ed. (Penguin Books)

Frans de Waal, Chimpanzee Politics, 2nd ed. (Johns Hopkins University Press)

Robin Dunbar, Louise Barrett, & John Lycett, Evolutionary Psychology (Oneworld Pub.)

Larry Arnhart, Darwinian Natural Right: The Biological Ethics of Human Nature (SUNY Pr.)

Larry Arnhart, Darwinian Conservatism: A Disputed Question (Imprint Academic)

Malcolm Potts & Thomas Hayden, Sex & War (Benbella Books)

Azar Gat, War in Human Civilization (Oxford University Press)



The final grade will be based on the grades for journal writing (15% for journal entries 1-6 and journal responses 1-5, 15% for journal entries 7-13 and journal responses 6-12), three class discussion papers (10% each), a term paper (10%), and class participation (15% for the first half of the semester, 15% for the second half).


For the journal writing, you will be divided into groups of three people—one group for the first half of the semester, another for the second half.  You will give copies of your journal entries to the other two people in your journal group.  Then you will write responses to the journal entries you have received.  Each journal entry should be at least 600 words long.  Each journal response should be at least 300 words long.  The journal entry will convey your thoughts about the reading for that week.  Usually, it’s best to pick one topic that you can cover in a brief entry.  The journal response is your response to the journal entry you have received.  The purpose of this journal writing is to generate a written conversation to complement the oral conversations in class.


For the three class discussion papers, you will select three weeks in the semester for which you will write a paper on the reading for that week.  Copies of the discussion paper will be distributed to all members of the class by email no later than 3:00 pm of the Tuesday preceding the class meeting.  Each discussion paper should be at least 1,200 words long.  The purpose of each paper is to stimulate discussion in class by offering your interpretation and assessment of something in the reading for the week.  There will be no more than two discussion papers for each week.  Whenever you write a class discussion paper, that will also serve as your journal entry for that week.


Since this is a graduate seminar, everyone is expected to show regular and instructive class participation.


The term paper will be due no later than May 6 at 12 noon at the instructor’s office.  This paper should be at least 2,500 words long.  The purpose of this paper is to allow you to work though one topic related in some way to the readings and discussions in this course.  On April 13, you should turn in a one-paragraph statement of your term paper topic.





Jan 19:  Introduction


Jan 26:  Darwin, pp. 21-22, 82-87, 100-174, 207-212, 674-689

             Francis Cobbe, Darwinism in Morals (1872), pp. 1-33, online at


             Journal entry #1


Feb  2:  de Waal, pp. xi-149

             Journal response #1

             Journal entry #2


Feb  9:  de Waal, pp. 151-215

             Jaeggi, Burkart, & Van Schaik, “On the Psychology of Cooperation in Humans and

                Other Primates,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 365 (2010):

                2723-2735, online at


            Kaplan, Hooper, & Gurven, “The Evolutionary and Ecological Roots of Human Social

                Organization,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 364 (2009): 3289-

                3299, online at


              Journal response #2

              Journal entry #3


Feb 16:  Leda Cosmides & John Tooby, “Evolutionary Psychology: A Primer,” online at


              David Buller, “Evolutionary Psychology: The Emperor’s New Paradigm,” Trends in

                  Cognitive Sciences, 20 (2005), online at


              David Buller, “Four Fallacies of Pop Evolutionary Psychology,” Scientific American,  

                  January 2009, pp. 74-81

             Some responses to Buller can be found at


             Larry Arnhart, “Is Human Nature a Superstition?  A Response to David Buller,” online

                  at http://darwinianconservatism.blogspot.com/2009/01/is-human-nature-superstition-


            Journal response #3

            Journal entry #4


Feb 23:  Dunbar, Barrett, & Lycett, pp. 1-200

              Journal response #4

              Journal entry #5


Mar  2:  Arnhart, Darwinian Natural Right, pp. 1-121

              John Hare, “Is There an Evolutionary Foundation for Human Morality?,” online at


              Journal response #5

              Journal entry #6


Mar  9:  Arnhart, Darwinian Natural Right, pp. 211-275

              Richard Hassing, “Darwinian Natural Right?,Interpretation, Winter 2000, online at

                http://philosophy.cua.edu/res/docs/faculty/rfh/1-hassing-review-darwinian-nat-  right.pdf

              Larry Arnhart, “Defending Darwinian Natural Right,” Interpretation, Spring 2000,

          online at http://philosophy.cua.edu/res/docs/faculty/rfh/2-arnhart-response-to-hassing.pdf

              Journal response #6

              Journal entry #7




Spring break


Mar 23:  Arnhart, Darwinian Conservatism, 1-111, 165-183, 208-220

               Journal response #7

               Journal entry #8


Mar 30:  Arnhart, “Darwinian Liberalism,” with response essays by PZ Myers, Lionel Tiger, &

                  Herbert Gintis, online at http://www.cato-unbound.org/archives/july-2010-darwin-


              Arnhart, “Biopolitical Science,” Politics and the Life Sciences 29 (March 2010): 24-47

              Journal response #8

              Journal entry #9


Apr   6:  Potts & Hayden, pp. 1-174, 365-383

              Journal response #9

              Journal entry #10


Apr 13:  Azar Gat, pp. 3-145

              Journal response #10

              Journal entry #11

              One-paragraph statement of your term-paper topic


Apr 20:  No class



Apr 27:  Azar Gat, pp. 149-175, 231-322, 401-442

               Journal response #11

               Journal entry #12



May  4:  Azar Gat, pp. 445-511, 570-673

              Journal response #12

              Journal entry #13


May  6:  term paper due in the instructor’s office no later than 12 noon