Being Human 2013

Dates: September 28, 2013
Location: San Francisco, California

The Science & Mystery of Human Experience 

Being Human 2013: a daylong exploration of human nature in the light of cutting edge science, philosophy, and evolution. At this event we will look at:

The Biology and Psychology of Ethical Behavior

Is morality culturally determined and relative, an evolved social contract that is absolute, or something else? In this session, we examine the biology of caring behavior and social interactions, as well as the dynamics of cooperation, competition, and power.

Presented by Robert Sapolsky, Ph.D., Susan Fiske, Ph.D., and Josh Greene, Ph.D.

Human Emotions

In this session we look at emotions as evolved behavioral responses, how well-being can be cultivated, and how our emotions can influence health. We further investigate the nature of compassion and its compatibility with evolutionary theory.

Presented by Richie Davidson, Ph.D., Paul Ekman, Ph.D., and Esther Sternberg, Ph.D.

Love and Sex

Sexual behavior, romance, and partnerships are among the strongest human social drives. In this session we delve into the biology of sexual behavior and such topics as love addictions, serial monogamy, clandestine adultery, hookup culture, and how human partnering psychology is reflected in our animal cousins.

Presented by Helen Fisher, Ph.D., Justin Garcia, Ph.D.,  and Laurie Santos, Ph.D.

The Future of Being Human 

In this session, we examine how the contemporary journey into massive scales of space, time, and big data irreversibly expands our perspective on ourselves—and how medical innovations which allow us to move past our traditional human bodies will change our cares and our consciousness.

Presented by David Eagleman, Ph.D., Natasha Vita-More, Ph.D., and Jer Thorp.

The experience of being human can be exciting or stressful, fun or depressing, but most often it’s simply confusing. How can we make sense of our world with all its pain and suffering, its delights and disappointments?

For most of human history we’ve been trying to understand our lives based on metaphysical, religious, and supernatural concepts. Then the Age of Enlightenment ushered in science and Darwin’s remarkable theory of evolution—a powerful new way to look at ourselves and the world. Now disciplines such as cognitive neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, genetics, anthropology, and philosophy are delivering fascinating new findings which have the potential to radically remake the way we see ourselves. Based on these scientific insights, a more comprehensive view of human nature is now emerging.