Leroy F Searle
Examines ideas of method and imagination in a variety of texts, in literature, philosophy, and science. Particularly concerned with intellectual backgrounds and methods of inquiry that have shaped modern Western literature. Offered: jointly with ENGL 205.
CHID 205 / English 205 Professor Leroy Searle Winter Quarter, 2014 Savery 246 12:30-1:20 M-F This course is part of the core curriculum of the Comparative History of Ideas program, offered in two concurrent sections: CHID 205 and ENGL 205. It makes absolutely no difference the section in which you are enrolled. The course pursues an intensive and demanding series of readings in Western intellectual and cultural history, with primary texts drawn from philosophy, literature, and the history and philosophy of science.
While the course readings are challenging, the sequence of readings offers a clear picture of main lines of development in Western intellectual history. Problems in each text are connected with the next, with the aim of showing how major tendencies and traditions in thinking, from ancient Greece to the present, can be understood as living developments that still inform the structure of contemporary intellectual life.
The title of the course reflects its organizing premise: that the primary focus of Western intellectual culture is sustained inquiry, in which method and imagination are constantly intertwined. The course is also designed to open pathways to study in many other programs and departments, and its intent is to involve you directly with the examination of fundamental conceptions that are implicated in virtually everything else you think.
The course carries “W" credit (writing intensive) following the guidelines of the College of Arts and Sciences. There is nothing in the course that is easy or light, but there is also nothing that is beyond the abilities of a reasonably intelligent undergraduate. There is also nothing boring.
The course is scheduled daily, with additional time for the formation of out of class discussion groups. There are, this year, scheduled times for discussion sections, but these will be used primarily to get independent groups started. Attendance is important, since the pace and the challenges of the reading require focused attention. There is a good deal that will be explained in class that is difficult to find anywhere else.
There will be a take-home written midterm, a short midterm paper and a final paper, on topics that will be provided. The first paper can be revised and resubmitted, up to the 9th week of the quarter.
Your grade will be calculated as follows: Participation, 10%; Midterm, 25%; First paper, 30%; Final paper, 35%.
N.B. All written work is to be submitted electronically through Catalyst Tools Dropbox. You will be given detailed instructions for preparing all assignments.
Please note that I will follow the university guidelines on plagiarism strictly.
There will be two weekend readings of texts, The Tempest, and Absalom, Absalom! This is optional but recommended, and you will be fed. REQUIRED TEXTS: The following texts can be purchased at the University Bookstore.
Aristotle: A New Aristotle Reader, ed. by J. L. Akrill William Shakespeare: The Tempest, Pelican or Penguin edition Thomas Kuhn: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 3rdE William Faulkner: Absalom, Absalom! (the corrected text, Vintage)
COURSE READER, available Professional Copy and Print, 4200 University Way. Contents below: Plato: Phaedo, sel. from Republic, Sophist, Phaedrus, Cratylus, Parmenides Giordano Bruno: Cause, Principle and the One Francis Bacon: The New Organon Rene Descartes: Discourse on Method David Hume: Selections from Enquiry concerning Human Understanding Immanuel Kant: Intro & Trans. Aesthetic from Critique of Pure Reason Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Essays on Method Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Selections from Lay Sermons, Biographia LIteraria, On the Constitution of Church and State Ralph Waldo Emerson: Circles Charles Sanders Peirce: On a New LIst of Categories, selections from Collected Papers, 'On a neglected argument for the reality of God' James Clerk Maxwell: Are there Real Analogies in Nature Thomas Kuhn: Objectivity, Value Judgment and Theory Choice Easy Access to the WEB is required. All communications will be posted to the course website, including all assignments, exams, paper topics, and supplementary materials.
Student learning goals
There is much in this course that is not typical for 200 level courses. All of the reading is in primary texts: you will be reading what Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Coleridge and other authors actually wrote, not summaries or digests. It is a course suitable for undergraduate students at any level who have primary interests in the history of ideas.
General method of instruction
Lecture and discussion.
The reading is challenging (and plentiful) but no specific background preparation is presupposed. The most important thing is an interest in intellectual issues and discussion.
Class assignments and grading
Several short papers, a take home mid-term and a final paper. The course is offered as a "W" course, with opportunities for revision.
Comprehension of major ideas and facility at engaging them. Writing well counts.