251. Sophomore Seminar. Open to Honors students. (3). (HU).
Sections 001 and 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 primary 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 in our method of studying; and in the use of Latin, Greek and Sanskrit dictionaries. 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, the OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY; students will be required 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 competence in any foreign language 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. Admission by application only. Application sheets available in the Honors Office, 1210 Angell Hall. (Hornback)
Section 003 – IMAGINATION. The Romantics claimed that Imagination was both an artistic and a cognitive faculty; the seminar will begin by considering both the structure of the Romantic literary Imagination and the Romantic theory of knowledge in works by Wordsworth, Blake, and Coleridge. Attention will then shift to more general questions: Does artistic Imagination tell us anything about reality? Can Imagination become a rigorous mode of cognition? What is its relationship to rationality? Does some form of Imagination have a place in science and ethics? The nature of metaphorical thinking will be considered, as will the function of Imagination in scientific revolutions (Kuhn, Barfield, Goethe), ethics (Schiller), the psychology of perception, and the visual arts (Cezanne, Merleau-Ponty). (Amrine)
SECTION 004 – THE HUMAN VISION OF DON QUIXOTE. Cervantes' primary interests in DON QUIXOTE, are love, adventure and literature. He unfolds his ideas on these topics by means of countless episodes that weave a vast tapestry of human actions and motives. Cervantes' view of life reveals a strong ironic sense as well as a deep understanding of human frailties. This duality creates a constant ambiguity whose effect is to make readers question the values of the literary personages as well as their own. In the elaboration of his work, Cervantes takes us through an exploration of historical and cultural problems, individual motivation, and reflections on the nature of literature. We will discuss these powerful suggestions to see how they apply to the work as well as our own times. Students will be able to appreciate the work better if they do a bit of preliminary reading. The reading of one or two Arthurian Romances and Johan Huizinga's THE WANING OF THE MIDDLE AGES (Anchor Book) would contribute a desirable background for the understanding of the book. Students will be required to write two short papers during the term and a final examination. (Casa)
252. Sophomore Seminar. Open to Honors students. (3). (NS).
SECTION 001 – ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMICAL IMPACT ON HUMAN HEALTH. This seminar will consider the influence of the chemical environment on public health. Retrospective studies of specific incidents of human chemical contamination will be used to identify the potential for human disease resulting from the addition of synthetic chemicals to the environment. Attention will be focused on the conflicting political, economic and societal interests which have to be compromised in order to deal successfully with such environmental health issues. The scientific basis for risk analysis and the political aspects of benefit analysis will also be considered. The format of the seminar will be as follows: An historical overview of an incident concentrating on the paramount issues involved will be presented first by an individual - faculty member, government official, newspaper reporter, etc. – who has expert knowledge of the incident. Each student will then WRITE a short report which includes a critique of the actions taken by participants in the incident, possible remedies for any actions that were inadequate, and procedures which, if implemented, could have prevented the occurrence of the human contamination. Each student will also give a short oral presentation or submit a short written paper on some general principle that applies to environmental chemical impacts on human health. Evaluation of student performance in the seminar will be based upon these written and oral reports. (Bernstein)
Section 002 – THE GREAT IDEAS OF PHYSICAL SCIENCE. This seminar may be viewed
as a physical science equivalent of Great Books. Its aim is to examine the
great ideas of the physical sciences from the 13th century to the present, to see them in the context of their own time, to gauge their impact upon
succeeding generations and to access their role in the cultural development
of this century. The main prerequisite is a curiosity about scientific ideas
and a willingness to put as much reading time into the course as would be
expected foreith the Great Books or one on the history of the novel. A background
in introductory physics, chemistry, astronomy and calculus would be helpful.
There will be two ninety minute discussions per week, together with such
other modes of discourse as seem possible and appropriate. Grades will be
based upon three papers and, to a lesser degree, in-class contributions. (Dunn)
SECTION 003 – THE HISTORY OF MEDICINE AND THE ART OF HUMBUG. In this seminar we will discuss the history of medicine in the light of changing attitudes towards science. Some of the topics to be covered are present day fads such as: ESP, chiropractic, astrology, acupuncture. The class is invited to add topics for discussion. When possible advocates on non-traditional medicine will be invited to present their views. (Malvin)
Section 004 – THE UNIVERSE AS WE KNOW IT. The goal of physicists is to understand everything that goes on in the universe in terms of a small number of fundamental laws of nature. The various laws we presently know may even derive from some single unifying principle. The laws of gravity, relativity, electromagnetism, and quantum mechanics will be discussed and applied to simple problems. More recent developments involving quarks, leptons, black holes, big-bang cosmology, dark matter, etc. will be described on an elementary level. In the end, all questions of "how" or "why" must be answered or else pushed to the limit of present knowledge. There are no college physics or advanced mathematics prerequisites. (J. van der Velde)
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