250. Sophomore Seminar. Open to Honors
students. (3). (SS).
Section 002 – Assessing Empirical Social Research: Becoming a Critical Consumer. Research findings in such fields as physical and mental health, education, family life, social deviance, the welfare of minority and other social groups appear regularly in the popular media and the publications of social and behavioral science disciplines (e.g., Psychology, Sociology, Political Science, Anthropology and others). Sampling this literature in areas of individual interest, students will consider how to appraise the contributions and limitations of research findings. The objective is to increase sophistication by developing a frame of reference for asking questions and a mode of thinking that enhances appreciation of how various types of research (e.g., case studies, surveys, experiments, historical analyses, cost-benefit studies) may add to knowledge and may have potential usefulness. (H. Meyer)
251. Sophomore Seminar. Open to Honors
students. (3). (HU).
Section 001 – Observation and Interpretations. This seminar is designed to examine the process of gaining knowledge in the various domains of the human experience, through a careful and detailed analysis of its various stages, i.e., observation, description, inference, interpretation, extrapolation, and prediction. Close attention will be paid to the complex interplay between rules of evidence and the nature of the evidence. While this may sound like an introductory course in the history of science or epistemology, the course has no pretensions to be a philosophy class, nor will it use a philosophy text. Readings will be selected from among the great works of literature, secular and religious, and enduring works of science, including Freud, Kafka, the Bible, Solzenytsin, Tolsty, Connan Doyle and Flaubert. Students will be expected to read a fair amount and to write several papers during the course of the semester. This course should be taken pass/fail. (Guiora)
Section 002 – Words. This will be a seminar on words, and the social and philosophical implications of the best of them. Using the Oxford English Dictionary (the OED) as our text, we will examine the etymological and historical significance of a number of important words in the English language. The course will begin with instruction, by example, in our method of studying; thereafter the class will first examine together a wide range of assigned words – liberty and religion and justice, freedom and friendship, law and legislation, radicals and radishes, wisdom and happiness, truth and faith, belief and live, thanks and thoughts, etc. – and then explore the dictionary in search of other interesting words. Students will be expected to report in class their findings, and to write up one word per week. The text for the course will be, as we've mentioned, the Oxford English Dictionary; students will be encouraged to buy their own copies; order forms available from the Honors office in March. No knowledge of languages other than English is required, though students with competences in any foreign languages will find such skills useful. In addition to class reports, a final essay will be required in which students will be asked to discuss what they have learned. (Hornback)
252. Sophomore Seminar. Open to Honors
students. (3). (NS).
Section 001 – Constraints on Energy Options. Several ways in which we obtain energy will receive rather technical evaluation. The terms force, energy, work, heat and temperature among others, will be given rigorous scientific definitions and used in assessing maximum useful energy as utilized or proposed in various options. For resources relying on minerals the geologic setting and processes of formation will be described, as well as the geography of their occurrence. These options will include oil, natural gas, coal, geothermal energy, solar energy (direct), tidal energy, agricultural wastes, urban trash, oceanic thermal gradients, wind, fresh/saline water osmotic pressure, wood and others. Evaluation will consist of a short midterm paper, a slightly longer final term paper, a short (ca. 15 minutes) class presentation on some energy related topic and a midterm exam. Field trips during class time are likely to be at the Ford Nuclear Reactor (North Campus), KMS Fusion, and one or two solar heated houses (small fee to cover transportation). Readings will be from Energy in Transition 1935-2010, Final Report of the Committee on Nuclear and Alternative Energy Systems, National Research Council of the National Academy of Science, W.H. Freeman & Co., 1980; Schurr, S.H., et. al., Energy in America's Future, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979; and current or recent periodicals. Prerequisites are high school algebra, and a reasonably good knowledge of general science (a little chemistry and physics, which may be rather short of high school course equivalency). (Cloke)
Section 002 – Human Striving: Science and the Humanities Compared. A significant part of the activity of those involved in the humanities may be referred to as involving "the art of criticizing". Part of science is also a critique of the literature, and most scientific activities begin as such. Assuming that science and the humanities are both outcomes of human striving, we will investigate their similarities and differences by sampling and analyzing both. Do their differences arise out of differences in subject matter, methodology, or both? Is there an area of human activity in which it is impractical or impossible to be "scientific"? If so, why, and is this area approached gradually or suddenly as one moves through the various social sciences toward, say, history, philosophy, literature, and the arts? (Alexander)
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