Category: Great Ideas

Have It Your Way: Cheeseburgers and Moral Responsility

Here at the Core, we spend a great deal of time examining a wide range of perspectives on morality, returning semester after semester to examine questions such as “how do we define right and wrong?” and even “do right and wrong really exist?” As we explore these ethical questions through the lenses of science, literature, […]

“The Meaning of Human Existence”

  Biologist Edward O. Wilson has spent his life studying evolutionary biology, writing books, and winning Pulitzer prizes, among other things. He is still going strong at 85 years old, and recently published “The Meaning of Human Existence,” a book intended to explain and convince the general public of the scientific theory of evolution. Drawing […]

Wander with Odysseus: The Odyssey as an Alternate Reality Game

What if instead of simply reading about Odysseus’s journey, you could experience it with him? John Fallon, an innovative middle school teacher, had the idea to craft an alternate reality game (ARG) to help build enthusiasm for classics like the Odyssey  in his seventh-grade class. Rather than merely reading about the adventures of Odysseus in […]

Esposito introducing Bible lecture with Elie Wiesel

This past Tuesday, September 9th, Prof. Michael Zank of the Department of Religion lectured to students in the first-year Humanities about the Hebrew Bible. His talk was introduced with some very moving comments by Prof. Stephen Esposito (Classics), the course coordinator. Prof. Esposito has agreed to let us republish his introduction here on the Core […]

Daodejing & bright vs. dark

This semester, CC102 has delved into the Daodejing and all the wonderful concepts it illuminates. Andrew Klufas, a student in Professor Nelson’s class, sent in an video of interest: What’s The Brightest Thing in the Universe? It’s creator, Vsauce, makes popular and informative videos on Youtube. Here, we see how Core Science meets Core Humanities: There is […]

David Green on Core and the canon

Prompted by Dean Sapiro’s lecture on Mary Wollstonecraft to question why there are so few women authors in the Core Humanities, Prof. David Green had his CC 202 students this week  momentarily put aside Pride and Prejudice and the question of whether happiness in marriage is a matter of chance to consider the criteria for […]

What would Plato Tweet?

With cerebral momentum from yesterday’s post on why philosophy won’t go away, let’s move on to another question raised by the same author, Rebecca Goldstein: what would Plato Tweet? Goldstein likens the modern social media attention-seeking frenzy to the ancient Greek striving for kleos, which, as students will remember from CC101, is somewhat equivalent to “glory”. […]

Alumnus Ben Howe & his Core-themed brewery

Ben Howe (CAS ’07), an entrepreneurial Core Curriculum alumnus, has opened a nano brewery and appropriately named it Enlightenment Ales! To our delight, the titles of his individual ales are, in our minds, very much Core-themed: Cosmos, Illumination, Enlightenment. As Ben describes on the company website, the nano brewery makes Bière de Champagne. For the laymen in brewery […]

Gulliver’s Kingdom Theme Park

CC202 started off the academic year with Gulliver’s Travels – an apt text for students who start the semester feeling like giants in one class and like Lilliputians in another. Michael John Grist describes, on his website, what used to be a Gulliver’s Kingdom Theme Park in Japan: Gulliver once rested in the shadow of […]

Voltaire & the Republic of Letters

CC202 has just moved on from Candide. Voltaire strikes even the casual reader as a captivating persona, with wit and intelligence. However, Voltaire’s role in the “Republic of Letters” is certainly worth a mention. To escape arrest, Voltaire lived at Cirey for fifteen years. He wrote a steady stream of letters to stay connected with his friends in […]