Eliana M. Santanatoglia
In recent years, the debate in the realm of Social Sciences was impacted by the ideas and language of evolutionary biology. This caused a revival of evolutionary explanations in Social Sciences, both from a biologist perspective and from cultural evolutionist one. This revival also represented the acknowledgement of those authors who had thought these ideas long before, for example, the authors of the Eighteenth Century Scottish Enlightenment.

Today these new debates go through the topics and discussions of all Social Sciences, such as psychology, economics, sociology, as well as various branches of moral, political and legal philosophy. As examples, nowadays Evolutionary Psychology is trying to explain legal and political institutions while the Evolutionary Game Theory is devoted to analyse the emergence and behaviour of moral rules.

This course aims to provide an introduction to these ideas, theories and debates in the realm of Social Sciences. Beginning with an overview of "Classic Evolutionism", represented by the Scottish School (Hume, Smith, etc.) and Hayek in the twentieth century, then we will continue with Dawkins and his analysis of biological and cultural evolution and finally, we will focus on the analysis of some of the most important schools of evolutionary thought today: Evolutionary Psychology and Evolutionary Game Theory.
Class 1
Classic Evolutionism - The pre-Darwinian evolutionism: The Scottish School: Hutcheson, Mandeville, Hume, Smith, Ferguson - The basic notions - The debates and differences between them - Evolutionary thinking applied to market, law and morality.

Class 2
Friedrich A. Hayek - Classic evolutionism in the Twentieth Century: The Legacy of the Scottish Enlightenment - Reintroduced debates - Complex phenomena and spontaneous orders - The co-evolution of mind and society - The market, law and other emerging orders.

Class 3
Evolution after Darwin: two schools influenced by biology: Richard Dawkins - The Selfish Gene - Contributions from biology to Social Sciences - The theory of Memes - Biological evolutionism and cultural evolutionism - Evolutionary Psychology - Background and main tenets - Application to Social Sciences - Debates and criticism - Differences with cultural evolutionism.

Class 4
Cultural evolutionism and Co-Evolutionism: Evolutionary Game Theory - The assumptions of Game Theory and of Rational Choice Theory and their differences with Evolutionary Game Theory - The Legacy of Classic Evolutionism - "Bounded rationality"- Differences between Biological Evolutionism and Sociobiology - Discussions and criticisms.
This course of 4 classes, is regularly delivered (sometimes in conjunction with other institutions). If you are interested in taking this course, please get in touch with us via the registration form or write us to
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