Course Syllabi

Creativity: the Convergence of Science, Art, and the Humanities

Using an in-depth and cross-disciplinary approach this course will probe why many people assume that there are old and unsolvable quarrels among the sciences, the arts, and the humanities. Turning to the historical story we will explore various approaches to the questions inscribed within these debates, asking why there appears to be a higher level of communication in periods of intense cross-disciplinary exchange. We will also ask what creativity is and how it fosters the human learning process. Special attention will be given to (1) clarifying how art-making, symbol-making, map-making, and model-making compare, (2) using historical and contemporary case studies to develop a working definition of creativity, and (3) critically analyzing how the various educational alternatives being proposed today actually impact future individual and cultural growth. No previous background in science, mathematics, or art history will be assumed.

Science: Method, Myth, Metaphor?

This course investigates how scientific theories and applications have changed over time. Special attention will be given to: (1) developing an understanding of scientific perspectives and methods, (2) developing an understanding of the science/humanities distinction and considering whether it is now a reflection of historical divisions between natural and moral philosophy, (3) exploring how creativity and innovation have changed our perceptions of natural and human patterns of relationship, (4) conceptualizing how scientific models are amenable to quantification and measurement, and (5) considering how the scientific approach compares and connects with other ways of envisioning reality. No background in science, religion, philosophy, or mathematics will be assumed.