This course will acquaint the student with some of the ancient Greek contributions to the Western philosophical and scientific tradition. We will examine a broad range of central philosophical themes concerning: nature, law, justice, knowledge, virtue, happiness, and death. There will be a strong emphasis on analyses of arguments found in the texts.
The Art of the Probable" addresses the history of scientific ideas, in particular the emergence and development of mathematical probability. But it is neither meant to be a history of the exact sciences per se nor an annex to, say, the Course 6 curriculum in probability and statistics. Rather, our objective is to focus on the formal, thematic, and rhetorical features that imaginative literature shares with texts in the history of probability. These shared issues include (but are not limited to): the attempt to quantify or otherwise explain the presence of chance, risk, and contingency in everyday life; the deduction of causes for phenomena that are knowable only in their effects; and, above all, the question of what it means to think and act rationally in an uncertain world. Our course therefore aims to broaden students’ appreciation for and understanding of how literature interacts with--both reflecting upon and contributing to--the scientific understanding of the world. We are just as centrally committed to encouraging students to regard imaginative literature as a unique contribution to knowledge in its own right, and to see literary works of art as objects that demand and richly repay close critical analysis. It is our hope that the course will serve students well if they elect to pursue further work in Literature or other discipline in SHASS, and also enrich or complement their understanding of probability and statistics in other scientific and engineering subjects they elect to take.
This course will introduce the student to the international relations of the Asia-Pacific region. Globalization, economic ties, national security issues, and politico-military alliances with the U.S. make an understanding of this region important to any political science student or participant in American government. This course will examine the differences between Western political thought and the general philosophical outlooks of the Asian population, which have been molded by societal forces for thousands of years. It will also address politics in Asia by examining pre-colonial systems of government, Western imperialism, national liberation movements, and proxy wars fought by the Superpowers in the Cold War. This course is important because the Asia-Pacific has given rise to several of the U.S.'s major security concerns: financial support of the U.S. economy by China and Japan through the purchase of U.S. government debt securities, conflict with China over Taiwan, North Korea's nuclear weapons program, separatist movements in several of the smaller Pacific Rim nations, and the growth and support of transnational terrorism within the region. Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to: explain how religion and culture impact government and political systems in Eastern Asia; discuss philosophies of government in Eastern Asia from ancient times to the present; identify the ways in which Western imperialism has impacted Eastern Asia; demonstrate an understanding of systems of governance currently in existence in Eastern Asia; analyze contemporary political and security issues in Eastern Asia that may impact U.S. national interests; assess the relationship that exists between economic development, systems of governance, and political stability of a Third World nation. (Political Science 322)
Concentrates on specific periods of Classical Greek and Roman Literature in translation with attention to cultural, political, and social influences. Topics vary from year to year chosen from among fifth-century Athens, the Golden Age of Latin Literature, the Silver Age, and Late Antiquity. Roman Literature of the Golden Age of Augustus Caesar, produced during the transition from Republican to Imperial forms of government, was to have a profound and defining influence on Western European and American societies. These writings ultimately established lasting models of aesthetic refinement, philosophical aspiration, and political ambition that continue to shape modern cultures. This class will be exploring the Golden Age of Latin Literature from an historical perspective in order to provide an intensive examination of the cultural contexts in which these monumental works of classical art were first produced. Readings will emphasize the transition from a Republican form of government to an Empire under the rule of Augustus Caesar and the diversity of responses among individual authors to the profound structural changes that Roman society was undergoing at this time. Particular attention will be devoted to the reorganization of society and the self through textuality, the changing dimensions of the public and the private, the roles of class and gender, and the relationship between art and pleasure. Writings covering a wide variety of literary genres will include the works of Caesar, Cicero, Catullus, Livy, Virgil, Horace, and Ovid, with additional readings from Cassius Dio for background.
Critical review of works, theories, and polemics in architecture in the aftermath of WWII. Aim is a historical understanding of the period and the development of a meaningful framework to assess contemporary issues in architecture. Special attention paid to historiographic questions of how architects construe the terms of their "present." Required of M.Arch. students.
In this course, the student will consider Dante's literature for its stylistic and thematic contributions to the body of Medieval and Italian literature, as well as for its inventive appraisal of Christianity. First, the student will examine the context of Dante's life and works, followed by taking a look at some of Dante's shorter works. Then, the student will devote the majority of the course to the study of Dante's masterpiece,The Divine Comedy. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to: summarize Dante's philosophy on the use of language in literature; identify Dante's attitude towards the relationship between Church and State based on readings from his essays; complete an autobiographical reading of Dante's work, with attention to the influence that specific romantic, political, and religious aspects of his life had on his texts; define important terms related to the study of Dante's work specifically, the poetic devices on which he relied most frequently; identify the structural aspects of The Divine Comedy, and in particular discuss the importance of the overarching circular structure of the text; point to the major biblical, historical, and literary allusions in The Divine Comedy and discuss the significance of these references; perform a cogent reading of the important symbols in Dante's texts (i.e. the presence of light, fire, and roses); critically discuss the key themes in Dante's writings, such as the narrator as pilgrim, divine judgment, and the physical reality of hell. (English Literature 409)
Humans are social animals; social demands, both cooperative and competitive, structure our development, our brain and our mind. This course covers social development, social behaviour, social cognition and social neuroscience, in both human and non-human social animals. Topics include altruism, empathy, communication, theory of mind, aggression, power, groups, mating, and morality. Methods include evolutionary biology, neuroscience, cognitive science, social psychology and anthropology.
A brief history of conflicting ideas about mankind's relation to the natural environment as exemplified in works of poetry, fiction, and discursive argument from ancient times to the present. What is the overall character of the natural world? Is mankind's relation to it one of stewardship and care, or of hostility and exploitation? Readings include Aristotle, The Book of Genesis, Shakespeare, Descartes, Robinson Crusoe, Swift, Rousseau, Wordsworth, Darwin, Thoreau, Faulkner, and Lovelock's Gaia. This subject offers a broad survey of texts (both literary and philosophical) drawn from the Western tradition and selected to trace the growth of ideas about nature and the natural environment of mankind. The term nature in this context has to do with the varying ways in which the physical world has been conceived as the habitation of mankind, a source of imperatives for the collective organization and conduct of human life. In this sense, nature is less the object of complex scientific investigation than the object of individual experience and direct observation. Using the term "nature" in this sense, we can say that modern reference to "the environment" owes much to three ideas about the relation of mankind to nature. In the first of these, which harks back to ancient medical theories and notions about weather, geographical nature was seen as a neutral agency affecting or transforming agent of mankind's character and institutions. In the second, which derives from religious and classical sources in the Western tradition, the earth was designed as a fit environment for mankind or, at the least, as adequately suited for its abode, and civic or political life was taken to be consonant with the natural world. In the third, which also makes its appearance in the ancient world but becomes important only much later, nature and mankind are regarded as antagonists, and one must conquer the other or be subjugated by it.
Opportunity for individual or group study of advanced topics in Engineering Systems Division not otherwise included in the curriculum at MIT.: This course introduces the theory and the practice of engineering ethics using a multi-disciplinary and cross-cultural approach. Theory includes ethics and philosophy of engineering. Historical cases are taken primarily from the scholarly literatures on engineering ethics, and hypothetical cases are written by students. Each student will write a story by selecting an ancestor or mythic hero as a substitute for a character in a historical case. Students will compare these cases and recommend action.
This class analyzes the theoretical and historical reasons why governments in latecomer countries have intervened with a wide array of policies to foster industrial development at various turning points: the initiation of industrial activity; the diversification of the industrial base; the restructuring of major industrial institutions; and the entry into high-technology sectors.
This course will provide the student with an overview of the role that ethical, cultural, religious, and moral principles play in public policy. The course will introduce the student to common themes found in the foundational theories of ethics and morality in politics such as justice, equality, fairness, individual liberty, free enterprise, charity, fundamental human rights, and minimizing harm to others. These themes are integrated into various decision-making models that you will learn about. Students will examine five types of decision frameworks used to make and implement public policy, as well as rationales used to justify inequitable impact and outcomes of policies. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to: explain how personal morality and ethics impact the policymaking process; discuss various ethical frameworks used to resolve policy dilemmas; identify statutes, ethical codes, and legal opinions that define the normative parameters of key domestic and international policy issues; assess the impact that public interest groups have on policymaking and execution of policies. (Political Science 401)
What does pleasure have to do with morality? What role, if any, should intuition have in the formation of moral theory? If something is ‘simulated', can it be immoral?
This accessible and wide-ranging textbook explores these questions and many more. Key ideas in the fields of normative ethics, metaethics and applied ethics are explained rigorously and systematically, with a vivid writing style that enlivens the topics with energy and wit. Individual theories are discussed in detail in the first part of the book, before these positions are applied to a wide range of contemporary situations including business ethics, sexual ethics, and the acceptability of eating animals. A wealth of real-life examples, set out with depth and care, illuminate the complexities of different ethical approaches while conveying their modern-day relevance.
This concise and highly engaging resource is tailored to the Ethics components of AQA Philosophy and OCR Religious Studies, with a clear and practical layout that includes end-of-chapter summaries, key terms, and common mistakes to avoid. It should also be of practical use for those teaching Philosophy as part of the International Baccalaureate.
Ethics for A-Level is of particular value to students and teachers, but Fisher and Dimmock's precise and scholarly approach will appeal to anyone seeking a rigorous and lively introduction to the challenging subject of ethics.
This subject surveys main currents of European cultural and intellectual history in the modern period. Such a foundation course is central to the humanities in Europe. The curriculum introduces a set of ideas and arguments that have played a formative role in European cultural history, and acquaints them with some exemplars of critical thought. Among the topics to be considered: the critique of religion, the promise of independence, the advance of capitalism, the temptations of Marxism, the origins of totalitarianism, and the dialects of enlightenment. In addition to texts, we will also discuss pieces of art, incl. paintings and film.
This course will examine the main focus that unites existentialists, "existence." Particularly, it will examine the concrete existence of individual human beings. Major figures or study will be, Blaise Pascal, Sóren Kierkegaard, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Albert Camus.
Seminar on the creativity in art, science, and technology. Discussion of how these pursuits are jointly dependent on affective as well as cognitive elements in human nature. Feeling and imagination studied in relation to principles of idealization, consummation, and the aesthetic values that give meaning to science and technology as well as literature and the other arts. Readings in philosophy, psychology, and literature.
This course examines problems in the philosophy of film as well as literature studied in relation to their making of myths. The readings and films that are discussed in this course draw upon classic myths of the western world. Emphasis is placed on meaning and technique as the basis of creative value in both media.
Advances in cognitive science have resolved, clarified, and sometimes complicated some of the great questions of Western philosophy: what is the structure of the world and how do we come to know it; does everyone represent the world the same way; what is the best way for us to act in the world. Specific topics include color, objects, number, categories, similarity, inductive inference, space, time, causality, reasoning, decision-making, morality and consciousness. Readings and discussion include a brief philosophical history of each topic and focus on advances in cognitive and developmental psychology, computation, neuroscience, and related fields. At least one subject in cognitive science, psychology, philosophy, linguistics, or artificial intelligence is required. An additional project is required for graduate credit.
" As we read broadly from throughout the vast chronological period that is "Homer to Dante," we will pepper our readings of individual ancient and medieval texts with broader questions like: what images, themes, and philosophical questions recur through the period; are there distinctly "classical" or "medieval" ways of depicting or addressing them; and what do terms like "Antiquity" or "the Middle Ages" even mean? (What are the Middle Ages in the "middle" of, for example?) Our texts will include adventure tales of travel and self-discovery (Homer's Odyssey and Dante's Inferno); courtroom dramas of vengeance and reconciliation (Aeschylus's Oresteia and the Icelandic NjĚÁls saga); short poems of love and transformation (Ovid's Metamorphoses and the Lais of Marie de France); and epics of war, nation-construction, and empire (Homer's Iliad, Virgil's Aeneid, and the Anglo-Saxon Beowulf)."
This subject offers a broad survey of texts (both literary and philosophical) drawn from the Western tradition and selected to trace the growth of ideas about the nature of mankind's ethical and political life in the West since the renaissance It will deal with the change in perspective imposed by scientific ideas, the general loss of a supernatural or religious perspective upon human events, and the effects for good or ill of the increasing authority of an intelligence uninformed by religion as a guide to life. The readings are roughly complementary to the readings in 21L001, and classroom discussion will stress appreciation and analysis of texts that came to represent the cultural heritage of the modern world.
This course aims to introduce students to the rich diversity of human culture from antiquity to the early 17th century. In this course, we will explore human culture in its myriad expressions, focusing on the study of literary, religious and philosophical texts as ways of narrating, symbolizing, and commenting on all aspects of human social and material life. We will work comparatively, reading texts from various cultures: Mesopotamian, Greek, Judeo-Christian, Chinese, Indian, and Muslim. Throughout the semester, we will be asking questions like: How have different cultures imagined themselves? What are the rules that they draw up for human behavior? How do they represent the role of the individual in society? How do they imagine 'universal' concepts like love, family, duty? How have their writers and artists dealt with encounters with other cultures and other civilizations?