Logics, Mystics, and Skeptics

HNR 340 - Logics, Mystics, and Skeptics

MySlice Info:

Term: Spring 2016
Class #: 48223
Section: M003
Credits: 3

William Osborne III

Counts toward:
HNR Hum, Public Presentation

Course Time(s):
MW 2:15 - 3:35 pm


Course Description:

Logics, Mystics, and Skeptics is an enquiry into the modes by which we acquire and justify our beliefs as true, and the way these structures of knowledge in turn structure our cultural expression.  We will look primarily to three intellectual, spiritual, and cultural flourishings: the ancient Greece of Athens; the eastern Buddhist traditions, particularly Chan and Zen; and the rise of western rationalism and the scientific method in pre-modern and modern Europe. In the end, students will gain an understanding of how rational argument works in support of observed phenomena; how insight, inspiration, and understanding occurs at time through ritual processes; and how establishing a separate ego (or soul) in a belief system has far-reaching consequences for what we can claim to know. And in all of this, we will encounter the artifacts, rituals and imagery that accompany the moments of clarity and consternation that is the pursuit of knowledge. The aesthetics of asceticism, the architecture of reason, images and gardens of enlightenment—western and eastern; and the allure of skepticism and its own cultural expression.