Honors | Ideas and Experience
H211 | 0001 | Cluver, C.


This section of H211 is designed to acquaint students with answers offered
by Western thinkers (theologians, philosophers, poets, scientists) during
the first four centuries of the "Modern Age," from the Renaissance through
the middle of the 18th century, to questions concerning the nature of the
universe and the human condition. The voices we shall hear
(characteristically, they are all men's voices) have had a profound impact
on the way people in the Western world have understood themselves and the
world in which they live. We shall seek to understand the texts we read in
their historical context, and we shall also reflect on how we as
inhabitants of the end of the 20th century tend to respond to the
questions raised. In order to create a historical  perspective, we shall
spend four sessions on much older texts representing the Judaeo-Christian
and the Graeco-Roman ("Classical") traditions that are the foundations of
all Western thought. And to help with the 20th century perspective, we
shall open the course with an influential 20th century novel published
early in this century, Frank Kafka, The Trial and at a later stage look
back at the 17th century through the lens of two modern plays, Bertolt
Brecht, Galileo, and Arthur Miller, The Crucible. Among the writers
studied are Plato, Virgil, Paul, Augustine, Erasmus, Luther, Galileo,
Descartes, Locke, Hume, Pope, Voltaire, Hobbes, and Rousseau.  Students
will write weekly "Journal" entries (1-2 pages) in response to the
readings and three 4-5 page papers. The course satisfies the COAS
Intensive Writing requirement.