THE "BIG ONE":
Here you can find everything to do with human nature issues, especially consciousness, psychology and psychoanalysis, artificial intelligence, and evolution. There is more here than you could possibly want. But, check out "Books" for good book reviews from the New York Review of Books; follow "Links" for a long list of online essays on consciousness, and lots on evolution and creationism; and consult "What's New" for the latest online essays and for the links put up earlier for "Darwin week" and "Freud week."
The BBC Darwin site, with lots of links to texts and other Darwin resources on the web. Particularly useful are the experts' essays on "The Man and His Legacy" and the annotated bibliography.
Val Dusek, from the UNH Philosophy Department, reviews the history of sociobiology and its various offspring, from the point of view of their political and ideological orientations.
A critical review of a recent book on the "evolutionary psychology" of rape. Sociobiology warmed over? And, one of its most discredited theories, too.
Human Genome Project Homepage at the Department of Energy (major sponsors of the project). Links to information about the project and its ethical and social implications.
Very large list of links on ethical and social implications of human genome research. (Independent of the genome project itself). Use this to find out about the organizations that have a position on genome research.
A general article on the human genome project from a medical journal. Considers its potential medical benefits and the problems they may raise. Aside from technical details, this is a clear and fair introduction.
Would you want to know if you had a genetically inherited disposition to a certain disease? This article considers the question from a medical point of view.
Ronald Dworkin, an influential legal philosopher, on why genetic engineering raises serious ethical problems. A readable and very thoughtful essay.
Peter Singer, a famous Australian philosopher, on why we don't really need to worry about cloning.
Alan Turing home page, with links to many resources for understanding Turing’s life, artificial intelligence, etc.
John Casti's interview with amazon.com about his book, The Cambridge Quintet.
List of links for explanations of all the basic terms and concepts for research on artificial intelligence.
Long list of links for a course on philosophy of artificial intelligence. I recommend the "Texts" especially, including essays by Alan Turing, Marvin Minsky, and Daniel Dennett.
Two essays on the computer Deep Blue's match with the world chess champion Gary Kasparov. Is the victory by machine over man really significant, or not?
Two essays by historian Simon Schaffer on Charles Babbage's schemes for mechanical automata and how they reflected the context of industrial capitalism.
Links about Wolfgang von Kemplelen, 18th-century designer of a speaking machine and the chess-playing Turk automaton. See pictures of these machines and read descriptions in English (or, if you prefer, in Esperanto). Also, read essays on the chess-playing machine by Brewster and Poe.
"Wired" magazine's interview with Donna Haraway. (A straightforward introduction to her ideas.)
Hyperlinks for texts by and on Donna Haraway. (Thanks to Paula Galvin for this and the previous reference.)
GENDER AND SEXUALITY:
The "Gay Gene home page." For information and discussion on the question of the genetic basis of homosexuality.
A helpful essay by the author of the above site, tracing at length the history of biological research on sexual orientation.
A conservative critique of the "gay gene" claims.
News report on the debate and the countervailing claims about the "gay gene."
Essay by the historian Bob Young on human nature. Young's outlook is influenced by Marxism and psychoanalysis. Here, he tries to combine them to argue for the importance of retaining a theory of human nature.
Charles Murray in the National Review: a conservative view of the current scientific discoveries and their impact on ideas of human nature.
Compiled by Jan Golinski. (Return to Home page) (Return to course syllabus)
Updated: 26 May 2000.