Pre-College Programs

Course Catalog Search Results (18)

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Introduction to Behavioral Finance

The main goal of the course is to provide students with a broad idea of the ways in which psychological biases and heuristics influence our financial decisions.The course will focus on the biases and heuristics that have been documented in the behavioral literature. Students will relate these biases to news and to contemporary economic events. Students will thus read...

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Evil: The History of an Idea

The daily news bombards us with stories about the evils that humans commit against one another--from acts of interpersonal violence such as rape and murder, to atrocities perpetrated on a massive scale, such as genocide and terrorism. Ideas about what it means to be evil, and what it means to be just and good, continue to shape the ways that we understand and react to these...

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Logic & Paradox

Logic is a system of rules upon which human reasoning is based. It is a tool that we deploy routinely in our everyday lives. It pervades every academic discipline, from mathematics to the sciences to the humanities. To philosophers, however, logic is a deep and complex subject of study in its own right. This course is devoted in part to exploring this system of rules, which...

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Probability: Indispensable Tool, Philosophical Mystery

Suppose you roll two dice. Of course, you can’t say exactly what you will get. But there are some things you can say. You can say, for example, that it is less likely for the dice to land “snake eyes” (two ones) than to not land snake eyes. You can say that getting a sum of two is as likely as getting a sum of twelve. And you can say that...

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Science, Perception and Reality

Modern science throws light on many of the perennial questions of philosophy, sometimes seeming to confirm or refute old answers and sometimes suggesting new ones. Are sensory qualities, such as colors, in external things or only in our minds? Is the world governed by deterministic laws, and if so, what room is there for freedom of the will? Could space have extra dimensions?...

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Themes from Existentialism

By far the most popular philosophy course at Brown, this course on existentialist philosophy (taught by the current chair of the philosophy department) provides a unique introduction to philosophical thinking, by applying the methods of philosophical analysis and argumentation to questions and issues confronting all human beings: What is the meaning of a life with the distinctive...

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The Meaning of Life

There may be no single question more important than this: What is the meaning of life? It’s a question we all face, and finding an answer is urgent. Is there even such a thing? If so, is it something outside of us or something we have to give to ourselves? In trying to find answers, we will discuss issues ranging from purpose and fulfillment to happiness and death....

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World Philosophy

What does Confucius have to say about what career to choose? What does Buddhist or Islamic philosophy say about how to live your life? Examining the ideas from other cultures can be overwhelming and confusing. This course provides a basic overview of the context and major ideas from cultures around the world.World Philosophy will give students a very broad overview...

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Happiness: Philosophy and Psychology

The course introduces the study of happiness by considering classic and contemporary research from the two most relevant disciplines, philosophy and psychology. Besides exposing the students to a topic of immediate human interest, the course also exposes them to two distinct modes of inquiry about it, allowing them to compare and contrast them.The course explores...

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Decision Theory: Where Math and Philosophy Meet

Suppose you are offered a game: you flip a fair coin. If the coin comes up heads, you win $5. If the coin comes up tails, you lose $1. Playing the game is free. Is it rational to play this game? To many, the obvious answer is “yes.” Though the chances of losing and winning are the same, you stand to win much more money than you stand to lose. Decision...

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The Power of Political Ideas

This course gives students a chance to undertake a fascinating and highly challenging process of political and intellectual exploration. In addition to well-established far right- and left-wing ideas, you will be exposed to and asked to evaluate such ideologies as Nihilism, Radical Feminism, Radical Environmentalism, and even Radical Islam.This will be an intense,...

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Debating Democracy: Reform and Revolution

Can social and political reform ensure that all are free to participate in a democratic society? Or is revolution sometimes needed? What is revolution, anyway? And what is reform? How has this distinction been developed in the history of democratic political thought, for example in relation to the distinction between representative and direct democracy? What is needed today?

We...

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Ethics and International Affairs

This course examines the complex relationship between ethics and politics in international affairs. Starting with an overview of different perspectives on the role of ethics and morality in international relations, the course then explores the ethical dimensions of issues central to foreign policy and the study of world politics, including the use of force, human rights,...

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Freud: Psychoanalysis and its Legacies

What does it mean to know yourself? Why is love so painful? What is the source of man’s belief in God? How does history repeat itself? Why do our dreams haunt us? Is there a difference between men and women? What is an Oedipus complex, and do you have one? Sigmund Freud devoted his life to answering these questions.In this course, we will dive deep into the...

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Psychology of Good and Evil

How do we define good and evil? Are people born that way? What about social, environmental, and cultural forces? What are your individual vulnerabilities and strengths? Let's find out in this course!

The media is filled everyday with stories of unimaginable harm and unselfish heroes. Have you ever wondered what makes people behave the way they do? What can research...

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Moral Psychology

In everyday life, whether they may be trivial or significant, people often encounter situations that fall under the purview of morality. Sometimes people are tempted to commit a norm violation, such as telling a lie to obtain immediate rewards or avoid undesirable outcomes. Other times, people become a victim of or witness someone else's bad behaviors. Under such...

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Terrorism: Understanding and Responding to a Global Threat

There is little question that terrorism presents a critical threat. In just the last twenty years it has caused a significant number deaths, resulted in major economic losses, influenced elections around the world, and even led nations to fail. As important, it has resulted in a political discourse characterized by fear-mongering and has threatened to undermine values central...

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Gods and Mortals: Athens, Rome, Jerusalem

Ancient texts are filled with deities, humans, and everything in between. What makes a god a god, and what makes a human a human? Where do they come from? How should they act? How do we, as humans, become more like the gods? In this course, we will look at a variety of ancient Greek, Roman, and Jewish texts to see how writers in the ancient world answered these questions....

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