Intellectual Heritage is a six credit, two semester sequence required of all students in their second year. This sequence examines the foundations of modern thought through the study of interrelationships among ideas, events, attitudes, values, and artifacts produced within various cultures past and present. The component aims to broaden students' bases of knowledge upon which judgments about oneself and society are made.
The Fall semester of Intellectual Heritage will begin with a four-week segment for all students entitled "The Birth of the Modern". This segment is designed to introduce students to the concept of modernity and its historical development by systematically exposing them to fundamental ideas and epochal events that have helped to shape our contemporary view of the world and our place in it. This segment will move from the Renaissance through the eighteenth century. Students will then enter a 10-week segment in one of the following themed sections, for which they will be preregistered:
1. Democrary, Power and Oppression. Introduces students to the history of political power structures, focusing on the fundamental concepts of democracy, power and oppression. The course is structured around nine themes (such as absolutism, totalitarianism, and democracy), which are related to modern political institutions.
2. Belief and Thought.
Traces the various "world views" that have dominated Western thought since the Renaissance. These outlooks, resulting from tremendous revolutions in the spheres of religion, ethics, science, philosopohy, art, music, and the social order, will be presented through readings, slides, videos and music.
Introduces students to divergent perspectives of nature over time and across cultures. The material will be presented in four units, examining varying cultural attitudes and conceptualizations of nature as a creative, preservative, and destructive force and an examination of political, social, and economic factors affecting nature during our own time.
4. The Nature of Time.
Introduces students to the complex, enigmatic, and often elusive nature of time. The approach taken will be multidisciplinary, historical and multicultural, covering diverse fields such as physics, medicine, psychology, sociology, religion, art and philosophy.
5. Infinity in the Development of Science. Consists of an in-depth study of how cultural and personal beliefs about infininty influenced the development of quantitative reasoning and science over the centuries. The course will focus on the antecedents of modern beliefs about infinity and on differing cultural notions of infinity.
In the spring semester, students will register for a different 10-week themed section. A final four-week segment ("The Modern Self") for all students will trace the development of the self in the contemporary age. We will analyze the transformation of the modern self from the beginning of the 19th Century to the present. This segment completes the Intellectual Heritage sequence.