Soul Beliefs: Causes and Consequences - Unit 1: Historical Foundations

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About this course: Throughout history, the vast majority of people around the globe have believed they have, however defined, a “soul.” While the question of whether the soul exists cannot be answered by science, what we can study are the causes and consequences of various beliefs about the soul and its prospects of surviving the death of the body. Why are soul and afterlife beliefs so common in human history? Are there adaptive advantages to assuming souls exist? Are there brain structures that have been shaped by environmental pressures that provide the foundation of body/mind dualism that is such a prominent feature of many religions? How do these beliefs shape the worldviews of diff…

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When you enroll for courses through Coursera you get to choose for a paid plan or for a free plan

  • Free plan: No certicification and/or audit only. You will have access to all course materials except graded items.
  • Paid plan: Commit to earning a Certificate—it's a trusted, shareable way to showcase your new skills.

About this course: Throughout history, the vast majority of people around the globe have believed they have, however defined, a “soul.” While the question of whether the soul exists cannot be answered by science, what we can study are the causes and consequences of various beliefs about the soul and its prospects of surviving the death of the body. Why are soul and afterlife beliefs so common in human history? Are there adaptive advantages to assuming souls exist? Are there brain structures that have been shaped by environmental pressures that provide the foundation of body/mind dualism that is such a prominent feature of many religions? How do these beliefs shape the worldviews of different cultures and our collective lives? What is the role of competing afterlife beliefs in religion, science, politics, and war? This course explores several facets of this relatively unexplored but profoundly important aspect of human thought and behavior. The course consists mainly of 70 to 80 minute lectures, typically broken up into 3 segments, recorded from a course offered by Rutgers University School of Arts and Sciences. These videos include slides and some embedded video clips. Most lectures are accompanied by slides used during the lecture, also including recommended reading assignment which may provide additional opportunities to reflect on your studies. Due to the lengthiness of this class and natural progression, the online course has been separated into 3 units, this is Unit 1.

Created by:  Rutgers the State University of New Jersey
  • Taught by:  Prof. Daniel M. Ogilvie, Professor of Psychology

    Psychology
  • Taught by:  Prof. Leonard W. Hamilton, Professor of Psychology

    Department of Psychology
Commitment 15 hours of videos, quizzes and peer review Language English, Subtitles: Romanian How To Pass Pass all graded assignments to complete the course. User Ratings 4.5 stars Average User Rating 4.5See what learners said Задания курса

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Rutgers the State University of New Jersey

Syllabus


WEEK 1


Introduction to the Course



1 video, 2 readings expand


  1. Материал для самостоятельного изучения: Welcome to the Course
  2. Video: Introduction
  3. Материал для самостоятельного изучения: Learner Support


WEEK 2


What I was Told to Believe



3 videos expand


  1. Video: What I was Told to Believe Part I
  2. Video: What I was Told to Believe Part II
  3. Video: What I was Told to Believe Part III


WEEK 3


Historical Foundations of Soul Beliefs #1



2 videos, 2 readings expand


  1. Video: Historical Foundations of Soul Beliefs #1 Part I
  2. Video: Historical Foundations of Soul Beliefs #1 Part II
  3. Материал для самостоятельного изучения: Reading Resource
  4. Материал для самостоятельного изучения: Reading Resource


WEEK 4


Historical Foundations of Soul Beliefs #2



3 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Video: Historical Foundations of Soul Beliefs #2 Part I
  2. Video: Historical Foundations of Soul Beliefs #2 Part II
  3. Video: Historical Foundations of Soul Beliefs #2 Part III
  4. Материал для самостоятельного изучения: Reading Resource

Graded: Quiz 1

WEEK 5


Historical Foundations of Soul Beliefs #3



3 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Video: Historical Foundations of Soul Beliefs #3 Part I
  2. Video: Historical Foundations of Soul Beliefs #3 Part II
  3. Video: Historical Foundations of Soul Beliefs #3 Part III
  4. Материал для самостоятельного изучения: Reading Resource


WEEK 6


Functions of Religion in Ancient & Modern Times



3 videos expand


  1. Video: Functions of Religion in Ancient & Modern Times Part I
  2. Video: Functions of Religion in Ancient & Modern Times Part II
  3. Video: Functions of Religion in Ancient & Modern Times Part III

Graded: Quiz 2
Graded: Peer Review: Religion in Societies

WEEK 7


Reactions to Scientific Evidence



1 video expand


  1. Video: Prelude to Second Half


WEEK 8


Religions Under Attack



4 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Video: Religion Under Attack Part I
  2. Video: Religion Under Attack Part II
  3. Video: Religion Under Attack Part III
  4. Video: Additional Video - The Four Horsemen of Atheism
  5. Материал для самостоятельного изучения: Additional Video Link


WEEK 9


Big Ideas & Big Controversies



3 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Video: Big Ideas & Controversies Part I
  2. Video: Big Ideas & Controversies Part II
  3. Video: Big Ideas & Controversies Part III
  4. Материал для самостоятельного изучения: Reading Resource

Graded: Quiz 3
Graded: Peer Review: Religious Conflict in the World

WEEK 10


Darwin's Dangerous Idea



3 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Video: Darwin's Dangerous Idea Part I
  2. Video: Darwin's Dangerous Idea Part II
  3. Video: Darwin's Dangerous Idea Part III
  4. Материал для самостоятельного изучения: Reading Resource


WEEK 11


The Mind-Body Problem



3 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Video: The Mind-Body Problem Part I
  2. Video: The Mind-Body Problem Part II
  3. Video: The Mind-Body Problem Part III
  4. Материал для самостоятельного изучения: Reading Resources

Graded: Quiz 4
Graded: Peer Review: Darwin’s Theory and a New Worldview
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