Thinking about Intellectual Tradition: Freshman Honors

created: 15 May 2019; status: first thoughts on paper; reviewers: none

One of my favorite parts of my university education was a 2-semester course on “The History of Western Intellectual Tradition”. We read Plato and Hume, had a debate about Galileo’s trial (which I lost to a guy who played an accordion during his arguments), and contemplated the world from the perspective of a group of mostly white, middle class-ish students at a Christian university. In hindsight, I’m not exactly sure why I liked it so much. I think the depth of the material and the great, engaged professors helped to understand some of the foundations of thought and at least wrestle with some of the big questions that have mattered to humanity over time.

I recently saw that the 2-semester program has been replace by the NNU Honors College, which adds a second year (focusing on science, woot!) and a 2-year thesis program that ties to the student’s major. This is pretty cool. I was one of a few science majors when I went through the program, and became the token physicist for course discussions with the philosophy professor. I would have hugely appreciated the additional, cross-disciplinary support during my research thesis, as I had a really tough time and I think that was the final nail in my scientific academic career.

The second year class looks like it could be excellent:

HNRS3550 Science and Science Fiction (3)

This course will explore a tiny handful of works by some of the most significant and challenging writers of science fiction–some we may have heard of, and some who are new to us. Through these explorations, we will experience a diversity of literary landscapes, ideas, cultures, and ethnicities, most of them speculative and fictional. Perhaps most interestingly, we will discuss and learn the scientific concepts behind these stories.

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