"The world is a human world, and scientific expertise in isolation offers an essential but incomplete foundation for guiding of humanity's future. At the same time, humanistic and artistic engagement with the world that neglects its significant and ever-expanding scientific and technological dimensions likewise offers an incomplete picture."
--National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The Integration of the Humanities and Arts with Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Higher Education: Branches From the Same Tree (Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2018).
Introducing new courses from the School of Humanities designed to take an integrative, multidisciplinary approach to some of the most compelling and interesting questions of our time.
BIG QUESTIONS courses are:
Fall 2020 – HUMA 124
Is This the End?
Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies
Writer in Residence, Novelist of Contemporary Italian Literature,
Department of Classical and European Studies
Is this the end? The end of our planet? Of truth? Of certainty? This course explores this question via contemporary writing across the world. Taught from a global perspective, the course will examine writers’ responses to major topics of our age, among others, truth, climate change and borders.
Fall 2020 – HUMA 125
What is the Ethical Thing to Do?
Professor, Department of Philosophy
Many people want to do the right thing, but it’s not always clear what that is. As individuals and as a society, we face complicated ethical dilemmas under conditions of limited knowledge. What should we do?
The long history of philosophical ethics provides different theories of the nature and content of ethical rules and their binding force — as well as voices of skepticism about whether there are answers to ethical questions at all. In Part 1 of the course, students will study classic works in philosophical ethics — and contemporary responses to them. Guest lecturers will shed light on historical circumstances that influenced their formation and on cross-cultural comparisons. In Part 2, students will examine in depth two topics in practical ethics: the treatment of animals and reparations for slavery. The course will conclude with an Ethics Lab, in which students work in small groups to gather information on a chosen topic in practical ethics and analyze it from the perspective of different ethical theories.
The course is not intended to instill a particular set of ethical beliefs, but to introduce students to philosophical tools developed to think through ethical problems and train them to use these tools in confronting urgent and complex questions in practical ethics, with awareness of their own historical and cultural location.