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11 - 20 of 37 results for: THINK

THINK 14: From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe: Science, Philosophy and Religion

How and why did the Copernican revolution in astronomy ¿ which placed the Sun at the center of the solar system rather than the earth ¿ have such a profound effect on the relationship between science, philosophy, and religion? How did it ultimately lead to the secularization of modern society?nnnThis course examines the defining moments when western science, philosophy, and religion became disentangled from one another, eventually leading to the development of our modern secular culture. As background for understanding the Copernican revolution and its aftermath, we begin with a brief examination of Plato and Aristotle, and how these two Ancient Greek thinkers were later taken up in the medieval period, resulting in a synthesis in which science, philosophy, and religion were intimately interconnected. Against this background we will then focus on the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries and encounter thinkers who during their lifetimes defied easy categorization: Were Galileo and Newton philosophers or scientists? What about Descartes and Leibniz? In reading texts that we now understand as belonging to one or the other category, we will see how the two disciplines eventually became sharply distinguished from one another ¿ which then led, in turn, to the modern separation between science and religion.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

THINK 15: How Does Your Brain Work?

How to learn to formulate questions about the brain that are observable, testable, and answerable? What is the relationship between the biology and chemistry of the brain and the mind that lets us talk, walk, laugh, love, learn, remember, and forget?What might neuroscience reveal about what makes us human? The human brain is the most complex organ known. It has evolved over time by adapting to the various behavioral and environmental constraints. The validity of common beliefs about the brain and the structure of the brain and the nervous system; how the elements of the brain function and how together these units produce action. The brain evolved in response to natural selection like all other biological structures. Evolutionary comparisons that illuminate questions about brain function including: What are the origins and consequences of brain damage, how and where do drugs act, how do you collect information about the world and how do you interpret and understand it? Through interactive lectures and discussions, this course is directed at understanding the biological mechanisms of brain function, from its individual components to functioning brains. Students learn to analyze how the science of the brain has emerged through the study of experiments and other observations. In the final project, studentsl learn to critically assess, analyze, and write about a popular media representation of brain science from available scientific literature.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-SMA | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

THINK 19: Rules of War

When, if ever, is war justified? How are ethical norms translated into rules that govern armed conflict? Are these rules still relevant in light of the changing nature of warfare? nnnWe will examine seminal readings on just war theory, investigate the legal rules that govern the resort to and conduct of war, and study whether these rules affect the conduct of states and individuals. We will examine alternative ethical frameworks, competing disciplinary approaches to war, and tensions between the outcomes suggested by ethical norms, on the one hand, and legal rules, on the other. Students will engage actively with these questions by participating in an interactive role-playing simulation, in which they will be assigned roles as government officials, advisors, or other actors. The class will confront various ethical, legal, and strategic problems as they make decisions about military intervention and policies regarding the threat and use of force in an international crisis.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-ER, WAY-SI | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

THINK 20: Ultimate Meanings: The Stories Buddhists Tell

Does human existence have some ultimate meaning or purpose? What are we here for, and how should we live our lives? Can the stories used by the world¿s religions help us answer these questions? nnnFor a religion which teaches that we have no selves, Buddhism has produced many great stories with many great characters. In this course students will read and think about some of these stories, drawn from the Buddhist tradition in the many forms which it developed as it spread across Asia. We will look at the biography of the founder, the Buddha, the tales of his previous lives, the stories of his disciples, and of later saints and heroes, religious practitioners and ordinary folk. In reading these stories we will investigate how they elaborate a persuasively constructed world of meaning in terms of which people can make sense of their own personal histories, and from which they can learn how to lead a good and meaningful life.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

THINK 21: Folklore and Literature in Russia and Beyond: Vampires, Talking Cats, and Frog Princesses

What is ¿folklore¿ and what is its purpose? How do we decide if something is authentically ¿folk¿ and does it matter? Why are Eastern Europe and Russia associated with the idea of folklore?nnnFor the past two centuries, elite writers, composers, and artists have found inspiration in the stories, songs, and beliefs of their grandparents, their servants (or their slaves), and their neighbors. This class asks what ¿folklore¿ means and what purposes ¿ political and philosophical as well as artistic ¿ it can serve. We begin with examples from around the world: the German Brothers Grimm as well as the Americans Alan and John Lomax. Then we turn to Eastern Europe and the role it has played in the Western European and American imagination as the home of the archaic and the authentic, from the vampires of Transylvania to the oral epics of the Bosnian Serbs to the nostalgic idea of the Jewish shtetl to the fantasy of Soviet communism as a survival of a pre-capitalist order. Students will analyze both folk and elite texts, and will experiment with gathering oral texts and transforming them just as the writers we study did.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-A-II, WAY-CE | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

THINK 22: Who Owns the Past? Archaeology, Heritage and Global Conflicts

Who owns the past? Is cultural heritage a universal right?nnThis course interrogates the relationship between the past and the present through archaeology. Increasingly, heritage sites are flash points in cultural, economic, and religious conflicts around the globe. Clearly history matters ¿ but how do certain histories come to matter in particular ways, and to whom? Through close study of important archaeological sites, you will learn to analyze landscapes, architecture, and objects, as well as reflect on the scholarly and public debates about history and heritage around the world. Far from being a neutral scholarly exercise, archaeology is embedded in the heated debates about heritage and present-day conflicts.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-ED, WAY-SI | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

THINK 23: The Cancer Problem: Causes, Treatments, and Prevention

How has our approach to cancer been affected by clinical observations, scientific discoveries, social norms, politics, and economic interests?nnnApproximately one in three Americans will develop invasive cancer during their lifetime; one in five Americans will die as a result of this disease. This course will expose you to multiple ways of approaching the cancer problem, including laboratory research, clinical trials, population studies, public health interventions, and health care economics. We will start with the 18th century discovery of the relationship between coal tar and cancer, and trace the role of scientific research in revealing the genetic basis of cancer. We will then discuss the development of new treatments for cancer as well as measures to screen for and prevent cancer, including the ongoing debate over tobacco control. Using cancer as a case study, you will learn important aspects of the scientific method including experimental design, data analysis, and the difference between correlation and causation. You will learn how science can be used and misused with regard to the public good. You will also learn about ways in which social, political, and economic forces shape our knowledge about and response to disease.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-AQR, WAY-SMA | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

THINK 24: Evil

What is evil? Are we naturally good or evil? How should we respond to evil?nnThere are many books and courses that focus on the good life or the virtues. Yet despite their obvious apparent presence in our life and world, evil and the vices are rarely taken as explicit topics. We will read philosophical and literary texts that deal with the question of evil at an abstract level and then use other readings that help us focus on more practical implications of the meaning and consequences of evil. By exploring the issue of evil, we will confront larger questions about the nature of humans, the responsibility to address evil as a society, and the moral and ethical ways we might begin to define what is evil.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

THINK 25: Evolution on Earth

How does evolution, the foundation of biology, underlie the diversification of life on earth? What are the mechanisms of evolution, and how are they discovered and explored? What are the practical implications of evolution for agriculture, medicine, and the future of life on earth?nnnThe history of life on earth is inextricably intertwined with the history of geological change on earth. Early ideas about biological evolution came from young people who went on wild adventures. Their observations generated ideas about what must have happened; but since, at the time, little was known about the mechanisms of inheritance, they were never to know how it happened. In time, two major advances came along: a much more comprehensive fossil record that substantiated many of their ideas, and a deep understanding of genetic mechanisms of inheritance. In parallel, the idea of geologic forms as dynamic, especially volcanic eruptions and plate tectonics, provided a new narrative of earth history that informed ideas about spreading and changing life forms. Then mechanisms of developmental biology showed how inherited genes carry out recipes for building bodies with certain structures. nnnWe will examine evolution from scientific, historical, and artistic perspectives, including evolution of microbes, plants, animals, and humans, and implications of evolution for medicine. The course will include introductory lectures, some in class and some online, discussion sessions, and three team projects for each student. Student teams will examine topics of their choosing in depth and create reports that will be assembled into a comprehensive book.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-SMA | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

THINK 28: Media and Message

How do different media embody information? What are the implications for the ways we understand the world and our place in it?nnVisual media are conduits for information and narrative but are experienced very differently. We will explore a range of historical and contemporary media, with an emphasis on the ways that different media present, organize, and structure information as forms that are ¿read¿ or experienced. You will be asked to compare, for example, how different media explore the same or similar content: examples might be viewing the film version of Hellboy as compared to reading the comic book, or considering how a historical event such as the D-Day landings is understood differently via photography, film, and interactive games. We start with considerations of the illuminated book, print, painting, and photography and move to the more recent cinema, television, and interactive and computational media.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-A-II | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
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