Course Detail
Course Components:
Enrollment Information
Requirement Designation:
Humanities Exploration
Course Attribute:
Honors Course
This course begins with the Scientific Revolution of the late 1500's and 1600's with special attention to Galileo, Bacon, Harvey, Descartes and Newton. Newton's synthesis and scientific work made the Period of the Enlightenment possible and attractive. Others tried to emulate his success in a number of other fields of science, political theory, and philosophy. We see the influence of the great contributions to political philosophy by Hobbes, Locke and Hume in England; Voltaire, Rousseau, Montesque and other Encyclopedists in France. Their writings either explained the "Glorious Revolution in England" or inspired the founders of the American Revolution and then later the French Revolution. Hegel, Marx and Engles later gave new insights into the interpretation of history and political theory which ultimately led to the Russian Revolution in 1917. We read satirical works by Swift, Voltaire and Rousseau which tend to question the perceived values of the Enlightenment. Rouseau and Goethe lead the way to the period of Romanticism where the senses and feelings are not to be ignored. Darwin's Theory of Evolution and Mendell's Genetics revolutionize the way life itself is understood. Their theories continue today with modern advances in the composition of the genes, the human genome, etc. There are many other great scientists, of whom Einstein is one who revolutionized physics- both in the large distances and masses (relativity) and in the very small masses and distances (quantum mechanics). Sigmund Freud also introduces psychiatry to the world. We also want to balance these important developments with reactions of great world literature authors: Wordsworth, Sartre, Dostoevsky, Kafka, Faulkner and many others. Instructors bring their own special insights and favorite works to the course which balance a corpus of required works.