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Discussion - The Uniqueness and Evolution of Humans

In a short 37 minute video, Robert Sapolsky, world renowned professor of neurology, neurological sciences, neurosurgery and biological sciences at Stanford University, gave a fascinating lecture The Uniqueness of Humans which discuses six dimensions of human uniqueness: aggression, theory of mind, the golden rule, empathy, pleasure in anticipation and gratification postponement, and culture. We will discuss each of these angles on human uniqueness. We will also explore other other aspects of humanity that participants think might be unique.

You can watch Sapolsky's lecture on the uniqueness of humans by clicking here.

In addition, by popular demand (based on feedback from the highly popular Discussion on Evolution on February 12th), this discussion will further consider the evolution of humans in general but especially vis-a-vis the uniqueness issues raised by the Sapolsky lecture.

Although watching the Sapolsky lecture is not required (we will summarize his points during the discussion), the lecture is very entertaining and impactful and I highly recommend it.  It is only about 32 minutes long (if you skip the 4 minute 50 second introduction by Provost Etchemendy).

We are seeking volunteers to lead future Ben Franklin Thinking Society meetups. If you have a topic of interest, please send me an e-mail ([masked]) outlining your subject.

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  • CJ F.

    We dissected Sapolsky's video pretty thoroughly.

    April 16, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    A great meetup. Well run, with everyone contributing to a lively discussion.

    April 15, 2012

  • Chuck B.

    Like a bad dream, a friend just called with some terrible news, and I'm afraid I must cancel at the last moment. I am so sorry, but it can't be avoided. I hope someone on the waiting list can use my spot . . .

    Charles Boulais

    April 15, 2012

  • CJ F.

    Sapolsky mentions Frans de Waal's work on animal morality. So this new TED Talk is very timely for our discussion on Sunday:

    http://www.ted.com/talks/frans_de_waal_do_animals_have_morals.html

    April 12, 2012

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