What does it mean to be human? - audio lectures now available

20 Jan 2012 - 01:27

Nicoli Nattrass and Jeremy Seekings lectured in a UCT Summer School course on "The Human Question". The first lecture in the series was given by Mark Solms of UCT's Psychology Department. His lecture, entitled "the animal mind within us", examined the neurological similarities and differences between the human brain and brains of other primates, mammals and vertebrates. Nicoli Nattrass followed, with a lecture on different conceptions of the human in economics. She drew on both classical economic theory and recent experimental research to show that conceptions of "homo economicus" neglect both non-rational aspects of economic behaviour and our social and cultural embeddedness. Jeremy Seekings examined the similarities between classical political theorists and contemporary primatologists in debates over the differences between chimpanzees and humans. Finally, criminologist Clifford Shearing examined how the "criminal' is defined or even made through the stories we tell about human nature. The series was convened by Nicoli Nattrass.

UPDATE (09/02/2012): The audio and suggested readings for the lectures are now available on our website.