HIS-226 History of Modern Ideas, 1890-2000

A survey of some of the major currents of modern intellectual history focusing first on European presumptions to scientific knowledge about nature and humanity, including theories of the physical universe, psychology, and society. Subsequent challenges to absolute knowledge both from within and without Europe will then feature, focusing on self, biology, existence and human freedom in the twentieth century. Examining first thinkers grappling with the positivistic legacy of the nineteenth century such as William James, Freud, Weber, and Popper, the course moves on to new modes of thought associated with existentialism, the 'linguistic turn', and the new science from Saussure, de Beauvoir, and Levi-Strauss, to Derrida, Said, and E. O. Wilson.


3 credits