Honors | Nature, Equality & Community
H204 | 0014 | S. Sanders


This section open to WELLS SCHOLARS ONLY
This section meets with Honors H228.
This section is an Intensive Writing course and requires registration
in COAS W333.

The world we inhabit is at once physical and mental: there are
courtrooms, and also notions about justice; there are flesh-and-blood
politicians, and also political ideas; there are stars and theories
about stars. To put it crudely, we live in a constant give-and-take
between things and our visions of things. One of the aims of education
is to make us critically aware of these governing or explanatory
visions.  We are interested in understanding what it means to be
human, what sort of nature we might have, how our minds work, how our
communities should be fashioned, how the universe operates. We will
examine some of the most influential answers to these questions, as
they have been formulated during the past two centuries.
Each of us will bring to the reading his or her own deepest questions.
Here are a few of mine: How has modern science changed our
understanding of the world and of ourselves? Can we reconcile a
scientific view with other ways of knowing, such as those offered by
the arts, by traditional cultures, or by religion? In what ways have
science, technology, and industrialization enriched our lives, and in
what ways have they impoverished our lives? What is our proper place
in nature? How has discrimination whether based on race, gender, or
economic class affected the lives of individuals and groups, and what
should we do about it? What, if anything, do we owe to one another,
simply because we are human beings? How should we live, and what
should we live for?
We meet twice a week for discussions. It is crucial that everyone
attend faithfully, and that everyone enter into the conversation. The
reading will range between 100 and 300 pages per week. You will be
asked to write three short (4-5 pp.) papers and one longer (7-10 pp.)
final paper. Topics will be supplied for the short papers, and you
will formulate your own topic for the final one. No exams. Grades will
be assessed on a scale of 100 possible points: 15 each for the short
papers, 25 for the final paper, and 30 for the quality of your class
participation.