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Honors 320_003: Perspectives of Health Through Literature and Media
200 University Park, 1127
Dr. Therese Poirier
Senior Research Professor of Pharmacy
This course will explore interdisciplinary perspectives on health and illness through the exploration of literature and various media.
Honors 320_004: Abraham Lincoln and American Memory
Peck Hall 0413
Dr. Erik Alexander
Assistant Professor of History
This course will take an interdisciplinary approach to studying the life of Abraham Lincoln through an in-depth exploration of the concept of historical memory. Beginning with a conventional historical overview of Lincoln’s life, the course will move beyond biography to consider how Americans have remembered and interpreted the life of Lincoln after his death in a variety of times and places. Students will examine how interpretations of Lincoln life changed over time through such mediums as historical scholarship, fiction, and film. In doing so, we may find that our understanding of Lincoln at any given moment in the past reveals less about Lincoln himself, and more about ourselves.
Honors 320_005: A Theory of Everything as Nothing
Peck Hall 1412
Dr. Robert Bruce Ware
Professor of Philosophy
“Philosophy is dead.” With these words, the physicist Stephen Hawking begins his book The Grand Design. Hawking’s thesis is that philosophers have failed to keep pace with the developments that revolutionized science and mathematics in the last two centuries. Philosophers have failed to provide us with a way to conceive of the world that science now describes. Yet, like most contemporary scientists, Hawking presupposes the outlook of scientific materialism. In other words, Hawking assumes that the world can be reduced to elementary “matter.” This assumption has encountered three basic problems: First, physics has found that the world is composed not of matter, but of energy. Yet while scientists know how to measure energy, they have difficulty understanding what it is, and why it is the fundamental substance of existence. Second, when physicists examine matter at the smallest possible levels, they find that it is made of structures that inevitably include the scientist herself. Third, since matter is dead, the world described by scientific materialism is fundamentally dead. And if the world is truly made of dead matter, then it would seem that our lives must be accidental and meaningless. From this problem follow many of our contemporary struggles between science and religion. In the spirit of Stephen Hawking, this course accepts that philosophy has been no better than comatose for the past two hundred years. And, in the manner of Hawking, it strives to provide a complete explanation of existence in terms that are rational, clear, and precise. Yet it abandons Hawking in its attempt to derive logic, mathematics, and physics without axioms, assumptions, or presuppositions of any kind. Hence, no prior knowledge of logic, mathematics, or physics is required. All tools, toys, and weapons of world construction are cheerfully provided.