New Incoming Freshmen Fall 2013
Course Descriptions For New Fall 2013 Honors Seminars
Lower Division Honors Seminars
HNRS 201 BEAUTY
In this course we will investigate and discuss the concept of beauty. What does it mean to say that something is beautiful, or to say that one finds something beautiful? Are judgments of beauty merely subjective, and if so, why are they so important to us? Should we be suspicious of other people’s claims about beauty, or of our own? Is beauty a sign of moral goodness, or of any sort of goodness? Is beauty worth pursuing? Is ‘beautiful’ still a useful term in the discourse of art criticism, or should it be jettisoned, as some writers have argued? How, if at all, does the human capacity to create or appreciate beauty relate to other character traits that have been classified as virtues?
We will be investigating the concept of beauty, and related concepts, from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Philosophy, art history, biology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and other academic fields all have important things to say about what beauty is, what it has been taken to be, and the roles that beauty plays and has played in human life.
HNRS 202 NATURE
This seminar will be a multidisciplinary exploration of Nature. The story of Nature is one that presumably has a beginning, a middle period, and an end. Using perspectives from the physics, chemistry, biology, geology, anthropology, philosophy, history, literature, music, and art we will focus on several basic and fundamental questions, such as:
How did the Universe come into existence?
How do we explain order and design in Nature?
Is it possible to comprehend the dimensional scales of Nature?
What is revealed by an investigation into the Laws of Nature?
How do engage in a systematic study of Nature?
What are the kinds of relationships humans have with Nature?
How do religious beliefs influence our views of Nature?
How do we determine what is natural or unnatural with respect to human values?