First-Year Studies: Brain and Behavior


Is there a biological basis for consciousness? Do animals have minds? How do biologists study emotions? Does genetics determine behavior? This course will examine a wide variety of questions about the brain and behavior in both humans and nonhumans by reading topical books and articles by researchers and scientists exploring both the biology and the philosophy of the mind. We will learn the basic biology of neuroscience, but much classroom time will be devoted to discussions of readings by major thinkers both contemporary and historical—including Descartes, Darwin, Steven Pinker, and Antonio Damasio—who have tried to understand the biological relationship among brain, mind, and behavior.