Puzzles and Revolutions: Text and Traditions


One major force in human history has been inquiry into the natural world. Especially after 1550, natural science, by virtue of its role in the development of technology and the improvement of health, has brought about great changes on all scales of human existence, first in Western Europe and then globally. In this course, the changing character of inquiry into the natural world, from antiquity forward, will be the object of study. Does natural science enable us, for example, to study nature as it is in itself, or are culturally-determined perspectives or frameworks inescapable? How we distinguish good science from bad science? How can we justify the epistemic authority that we ascribe to science? To study these questions, we will examine thinkers from Ancient Greece, through the Islamic Golden Age, all the way through to the modern day, with a particular emphasis on theories of vision. As we proceed, we'll discuss the various philosophical ideas that informed these paradigms of inquiry and allow us to think more critically about our own contemporary perspective.
Course Attributes: EN H; BU Hum; AS HUM; AS LCD; FA HUM

Section 01

Puzzles and Revolutions: Text and Traditions
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