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Evolution, Cognition & Culture > Templeton Lectures
Templeton Lectures

2009-2010 Templeton Research Lectures
"The Evolution of Cooperation"

 Martin Nowak
Harvard University
Departments of Biology and Mathematics

March 22-26, 2010

Martin A. Nowak is Professor of Biology and of Mathematics at Harvard University and Director of Harvard’s Program for Evolutionary Dynamics. He also co-directs the 'Evolution and Theology of Cooperation' project at the Harvard Divinity School. Nowak works on the mathematical description of evolutionary processes including the evolution of cooperation and human language, and the dynamics of virus infections and human cancer. At the moment, he is working on ‘prelife’, a formal approach to the origin of evolution. He is the author of many important publications, including the prize-winning Evolutionary Dynamics: Exploring the Equations of Life (Harvard, 2006). Further information, including links to his popular writing for Scientific American and Natural History, can be found at his website by clicking here.

Lecture I

"Evolution of Cooperation"
Monday, March 22, 4:00
Mason Hall Auditorium
Click here for abstract.

Lecture II

"Evolutionary Dynamics"
Tuesday, March 23, 4:00
110 Clark Hall
Co-sponsored by JHU Dept. of Biomedical Engineering
Click here for abstract.

Lecture III

Wednesday, March 24, 4:00 Refreshments, 4:30 Talk
26 Mudd Hall
Co-sponsored by JHU Dept. of Biology
Click here for abstract.

 Lecture IV

"Evolution and Structure"
Corina Tarnita (Harvard University, Mathematics)
Thursday, March 25, 4:00
304 Whitehead Hall
Co-sponsored by JHU Dept. of Applied Math and Statistics
Click here for abstract.

Lecture V

"God and Evolution"
Friday, March 26, 3:00
Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith and Community Support Center
Co-sponsored by JHU Campus Ministries
Click here for abstract.

2008-2009 Templeton Research Lectures
"Culture and Religion in a Naturalistic Perspective"

Dan Sperber
French National Center for Scientific Research
Institut Jean Nicod

Dan Sperber, Research Director at the Institut Jean Nicod in Paris, is one of France's leading cognitive scientists.  He is the author of Rethinking Symbolism, On Anthropological Knowledge, Relevance: Communication and Cognition (co-authored with linguist Deirdre Wilson), and Explaining Culture: A Naturalistic Approach, as well as numerous articles.  He is best known for his explorations of the "epidemiology of representations," his development of Relevance Theory in linguistic pragmatics with Deirdre Wilson, and his defense of a "massively modular" view of human cognitive architecture.

The general theme of the lectures is how to integrate our understanding of society and culture in a naturalistic worldview.  In the first three lectures, some of the illustrations will be borrowed from the study of religion. Religion will be the main theme in the fourth lecture.

Lecture I   

"Naturalizing Culture: Philosophical and Empirical Issues"
Thursday, October 2 
101 Remsen, 4:00 

 Lecture II   

"Cultural Epidemiology: Ecological and Psychological Factors"
Friday, October 3
101 Remsen
, 4:00
Lecture III   "Relevance in Cognition, Communication and Culture"
Wednesday, February 18
213 Hodson, 4:00

Lecture IV   

"Religion and Science: An Old Comparison in a New Epidemiological Perspective"
Tuesday, March 31
Sherwood Room, Levering Hall, 4:20
Lecture given as part of a Workshop on Cognitive Theories of Science and Religion.
Click here for details about the workshop.
Click here for abstract of Lecture IV.

Dr. Sperber's lectures will each be self-contained; they will not presuppose previous lectures.

2007-2008 Templeton Research Lectures
“The Cognitive Science of Religion”

Paul Bloom
Department of Psychology
Yale University

Paul Bloom, Professor of Psychology and Linguistics at Yale University, is the author of Descartes’ Baby: How the science of child development explains what makes us human (Basic Books, 2004) and How children learn the meanings of words (MIT, 2000), as well as scores of papers on such topics as the evolution of language, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, the naming of artifacts and natural kinds, and the psychology of moral reasoning. He is also co-editor of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

Lecture I 

“Bodies and Souls”
 Thursday, October 4, 4:00
 1 Remsen

Lecture II 

“The Moral Circle”
 Thursday, November 29, 4:00
 1 Remsen

Lecture III 

“Religion is Natural”
 Thursday, February 7, 2:00
 26 Mudd

Lecture IV 

“The Pleasures of Transcendence”
 Friday, March 7, 2:00
 26 Mudd

Professor Bloom’s lectures will each be self-contained; they will not presuppose one another.

Visiting commentators
Lecture I:   Ned Block (New York University)
                 Deborah Kelemen (Boston University)
Lecture II:   Steve Stich (Rutgers University)
                 Leda Cosmides (University of California,Santa Barbara)
Lecture III:  Scott Atran (Institut Jean Nicod)
Peter van Inwagen (University of Notre Dame)
Lecture IV: Susan Gelman (University of Michigan)
                Jerry Levinson (University of Maryland)

Steven Gross
Evolution, Cognition, and    
   Culture Project
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