Professor Fortier's Introduction to Philosophical and Humanistic Thinking


This course introduces you to the basic subject matter, questions, and assumptions of study common to Philosophy and the Humanities. Through a preliminary inquiry into how writers, historians, and philosophers represent an idea, such as the construction of knowledge, students will become familiar with how the humanities employ questions of form, effect, affect, and value.

You will draw connections between self and society, and reflect on ways personal origins and beliefs affect actions and values. By looking at various dialogues across time, students will begin to see how the philosophical and humanistic thinking fueled and continues to shift socio-political, artistic, cultural, and economic conditions.

You will grapple with the intersections of historical and contemporary issues, such as the construction of knowledge in the digital age as we explore the role of Philosophy and Humanistic thinking in the 21st century.

The three interpretive questions that will guide our inquiry this semester are

  1. What does it say?
  2. What does it mean?
  3. And why does it matter? (I sometimes rephrase this question as, What does it mean for us?)