Sioux Falls Atheists
Sioux Falls Atheists and Atheism, Agnostics and Humanism

Sioux Falls Atheists endorse Understanding the Dark Side of Human Nature
course for describing the dark subconscious self that all humans have.

Understanding the Dark Side of Human Nature
Lectures by Professor Daniel Breyer

Understanding the Dark Side of Human Nature (2019) - 24 lectures, 12 hours
Understanding the Dark Side of Human Nature  at

You don’t consider yourself evil, do you? Of course not! No one does. And yet, the world is full of violence and suffering. We hear the stories in the news. We see the images online. We know too well how bad things can be, but if we’re sure of anything, we’re sure that we’re not like those who do evil. But what makes us so sure? It’s an uncomfortable question, but how different are we, really? Is it possible that we actually share something in common with those who’ve done the worst humanity has to offer? After all, we’re all human. Aren’t we?

In the 24 lectures of Understanding the Dark Side of Human Nature, Professor Daniel Breyer takes you on a fascinating philosophical journey into some of the deepest—and darkest—questions that have haunted humanity for millennia. In exploring the dark side of human nature, you won’t just explore what it means to be evil; you’ll explore humanity’s fragile underbelly by investigating such topics as our thirst for vengeance, our tendency toward anger, our inability to do what we know is right, and much more. These are difficult topics, to be sure, and at least for some people, it would be easier to look away, rather than investigate them. But the truth is that unless we honestly confront who we are in all its sordid glory, we’ll never fully understand ourselves. We’ll never fully appreciate who we really are—or who we might ultimately become.

A Cross-Cultural Approach

Thinkers from across the world and in many different eras have considered the dark side of human nature, and that’s why this course will adopt a cross-cultural approach, investigating perspectives from many different traditions—from the Hindu Bhagavad Gita and the Buddhist Way of the Bodhisattva to the Christian Bible and the scholarship of contemporary philosophers and psychologists. In this course, you won’t just find yourself seeking answers to some of life’s biggest questions—you’ll also discover entirely new ideas from traditions you’ve not yet encountered.

Fascinating Questions

This course is fueled by the power of questions, one of philosophy’s most potent tools. Some are questions we have all asked ourselves: Why are people violent? Is anyone just born evil? Why is there so much suffering in the world? We might ask these questions with a certain level of cynicism, or perhaps sadness, not even expecting a real answer, but philosophers have taken these fundamental questions seriously for thousands of years. Mining insights from many different philosophical traditions, Professor Breyer provides some fascinating responses to these and many other dark questions, while offering guidance on how to build flourishing and meaningful lives in the face of darkness.

As you’ll discover, confronting the dark side of human nature is sometimes messy. You won’t find every point of view completely satisfying, and sometimes you won’t even know which arguments to believe, but you will be constantly engaged in an ongoing conversation with an expert guide whose goal is to help you think for yourself and reach your own answers to difficult questions.

Exploring the Dark Side through Stories and Thought Experiments

Stories and thought experiments are powerful, and that’s why thinkers from many different traditions have used them to explore difficult questions. In Understanding the Dark Side of Human Nature, you will encounter fascinating thought experiments and stories—some fictional, some drawn from the headlines—that concretize abstract ideas and help us find meaning in our own lives.

Daniel Breyer is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Illinois State University, where he also serves as the director of the Religious Studies program. His research explores what it means to be a person. With this focus, he has addressed questions in the areas of epistemology, ethics, moral psychology, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of religion. Dr. Breyer is the recipient of several teaching awards, including the Illinois State University outstanding University Teaching Award for pre-tenured faculty.

24 Lectures - 30 minutes each

1: What Do We Mean by the ''Dark Side''? 13: Homo necans: Why Do We Kill?
2: Our Fundamental Nature: Good or Evil? 14: Nightmares and the Dream Self
3: What Is Evil? 15: Varieties of Self-Deception
4: Moral Monsters and Evil Personhood 16: Varieties of Ignorance
5: Evil and Responsibility 17: Weakness of Will
6: Sin: Original and Otherwise 18: Luck and the Limits of Blame
7: Dark Thoughts and Desires 19: Victim Blaming and the Just-World Hypothesis
8: Suffering and Its Causes 20: Retribution and Revenge
9: The Problem of Expectation and Desire 21: Forgiveness and Redemption
10: The Fear of Death 22: The Elimination of Anger
11: Existential Anxiety and the Courage to Be 23: Being Peaceful in a Troubled World
12: The Goodness of Grief 24: The Allure of the Dark Side

(Comment by Webmaster) We all have the same drive to survive and breed which can result in our dark side coming out, but we also have a conscious mind which can decide to override implementing these dark subconscious urges. "Don't turn him into a victim. He nearly killed you. He was a killer and a rapist and he enjoyed it. He had the same chances as everyone else. You choose who you want to be. He wasn't a victim. He was an evil bastard who hated women."

Understanding the Dark Side of Human Nature
Lectures by Professor Daniel Breyer

Sioux Falls Atheists endorse Understanding the Dark Side of Human Nature
course for describing the dark subconscious self that all humans have.