Honors | Nature, Equality, and Community
H204 | 0015 | Sanders


4:00P-5:15P    TR    ARR
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.