Introduction

Module Description:

What moves nature? Who and What am I? What drives society? - These are three foundational questions that have shaped, and continue to shape, the pursuit of intellectual thought. This module surveys the different attempts at answering them and tracks the controversies and challenges confronting each attempted answer.

Organized as a two semester lecture series, students will be introduced to key ideas, thinkers, and paradigm shifts over the course of five intellectual periods: Pre-Enlightenment, the Enlightenment, Post-Enlightenment, Modernity, and Post-modernity. Each period maps the shifting social, political, and material contexts in which these questions have been raised, challenged, and raised again. The aim is to introduce students to a history of intellectual enquiry that is neither singular nor complete but contesting and contestable.

Schedule

Semester 1

  • Week 1 - Setting the Stage

Unit 1: The Classical and Medieval World

  • Week 2 - The Classical Worldview
  • Week 3 - The Medieval Worldview

Unit 2: The Enlightenment

  • Week 4 - The Interior Self
  • Week 5 - The Social Contract and the concept of Progress
  • Week 6 - Newtonian Physics
  • Week 7 - Mathematics

Unit 3: Post-Enlightenment

  • Week 8 - Organic Chemistry
  • Week 9 - Evolution
  • Week 10 - The Self & the Other
  • Week 11 - The Emergence of the 'Social'
  • Week 12 - Imperialism & Capital
  • Week 13 - Summative Test

Semester 2

  • Week 1 - Resetting the Stage

Unit 4: Modernity

  • Week 2 - Einstein, Space, and Time
  • Week 3 - Cultural and Linguistic Self
  • Week 4 - War & the End of Reason
  • Week 5 - Colonialism/Postcolonialism and the task of Nation-Building
  • Week 6 -

Unit 5: Postmodernity

  • Week 7 - Entropy and Chance
  • Week 8 - Probability and Chance
  • Week 9 - Emergence
  • Week 10 - Self under Power
  • Week 11 - Welcome to the Anthropocene
  • Week 12 - Neoliberalism
  • Week 13 - Summative Test