The Abolition of Man
By early 1943, it was clear to many observers that the Allies would win the Second World War. But for C.S. Lewis, the conflict had revealed a civilizational crisis that military victory alone could not solve. He feared that the war had a exposed a terrifying ignorance about the foundations of a humane social order. He argued that to be worthy of victory, and to avoid a degradation worse than defeat, Western nations would need to understand the basis of humanistic education. This reading group will meet to discuss Lewis’s The Abolition of Man and its argument that only universal values, rooted in man’s rational nature, can protect human dignity. For more information, or to receive a copy of the reading, please contact email@example.com.
Dates: Thursdays on 5/28, 6/4, 6/11
Time: 5:30-6:45 PM
5/28: Men Without Chests (pp. 1-26)
6/4: The Way (pp. 27-52)
6/11: The Abolition of Man (pp. 53-82)
This seminar is free and open to all Cal, GTU, and St. Mary’s students.
Three years before receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature, Toni Morrison gave a series of lectures at Harvard examining depictions of race in American culture. She argued that the American imagination had been profoundly shaped by the categories of “whiteness” and “blackness,” and that knowledge of their codependency is essential for knowledge of American history. With Morrison as our guide, this discussion group will consider how American history and literature has shaped, and has been shaped by, an unconscious awareness of race. For more information or to receive a copy of the short readings, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dates: Tuesdays on 7/7, 7/14, and 7/21.
Time: 5:30-6:45pm PST
7/7: Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark, Preface and Chapter One.
7/14: Chapter Two
7/21: Chapter Three
This seminar is free and is open to all full-time UC Berkeley, GTU, and St. Mary’s students.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
When Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientifc Revolutions appeared in 1962, it offered a radically new perspective on the history of science. It challenged the prevailing view that science develops by “accumulation” and argued instead that the history of science is marked by revolutionary “paradigm shifts.” In this seminar we will read selections from Kuhn’s seminal book and related readings, meeting to discuss its implications for the practice of science and the evolution of scientific knowledge. The readings will develop a model for scientific revolutions from historical developments in the physical sciences, which are relevant to on-going revolutions within a variety of scientific disciplines, including geology, cosmology, genetics, and neuroscience. Together, we will examine the stages in the “life” of scientific ideas alongside a brief history of the scientists who shaped them. We will also discuss what, if anything, makes scientific inquiry distinct from other methods of knowing. For a free copy of the book or to receive more information, please contact email@example.com.
Dates: Monday evenings on 2/3, 2/10, 2/17, 2/24
Week 1: Kuhn chapter 1 and Karl Popper Logic of Scientific Discovery, sections 1.2, 1.3, 1.8.
Week 2: Kuhn chapters 2, 3, 10.
Week 3: Kuhn chapters 6, 8, 12
Week 4: Kuhn chapter 4 and Thomas Kuhn, “The Logic of Discovery or Psychology of Research?”
Visions of Justice:
From Conservatism to Postmodernism
Justice today typically comes in hyphenated forms. There’s social justice, racial justice, environmental justice, and even spacial justice. Many of these views offer a powerful critique of the classical idea that justice is grounded in human reason. This seminar will introduce students to some popular views of justice and their contemporary importance. First we will examine two leading conservative thinkers and then conclude by looking at some influential liberal and postmodern critics. Pizza will be served.
Dates: Tuesdays on 10/15, 10/22, 10/29, and 11/5
Time: 5:30 – 7:00pm
10/15: Isaiah Berlin, “Two Concepts of Liberty” ; “Political Judgement” (optional)
10/22: Freidrich von Hayek, “The Use of Knowledge in Society“; “Social Justice” (optional); and “Social Justice Notes” (optional)
10/29: Michael Oakeshott, “On Being Conservative“; “Rationalism in Politics” (optional)
11/5: Richard Rorty, “Relativism” and “Truth without Correspondence to Reality.”
Location: 2134 Allston Way
**This seminar is free and open to all UC Berkeley, GTU, and St. Mary’s students.