Category: Great Questions

Vermeer & his photo-realism

Related to CC201′s study of Rembrandt is the mysterious work of Johannes Vermeer, another painter of the Dutch Golden Age. His photo-realism has been a topic of debate – how did he achieve it? Vanity Fair offers some recent speculation. Here is a sample: Despite occasional speculation over the years that an optical device somehow enabled […]

Jay Samons & ‘What follows Democracy?’

Prof. Samons gave his famous Trireme lecture last Tuesday – a most exciting highlight of CC101 according to our alumni! Refresh your memory with some select quotes from previous years: “Triremes were built to kill. You can’t have fun on a trireme. You can’t water-ski behind one. You can’t hold an afternoon BBQ on one. […]

Machiavelli: still shocks 5 centuries later

CC201 has started off the semester by dabbling, among other things, in Machiavelli’s The Prince. Many were acquainted with the work from their high school years, and many were not - all admit it remains potent and relevant today. This post for The National Interest highlights the way in which The Prince still shocks today. A sample: […]

Maths & Science: popular until tasted

Relating to the frustratingly constant and reliable doubts that some students feel toward their majors, is an article from the Wall Street Journal discussing the choice of field. Their claim is that mathematics and science majors are relatively popular – until of course, students realize ‘what they are in for’. Here is an excerpt: The researchers […]

Does Math actually exist?

Related to Prof. Roochnik’s CC101 lecture on Plato and maths, is a post from Gizmodo titled ‘Wait a Minute: Does Math actually exist?’. Here is a sample: PBS Idea Channel tackles the subject of whether math really exists or not. It’s a legitimate question because math, unlike physics or chemistry or biology, can’t be seen or smelled […]

Does just thinking about science trigger moral behavior?

A recent post from Scientific American discusses the sticky subject of science and its role in morality. The scientific method has spewed some seemingly immoral conclusions. How do deal with that? Here are some thoughts: Researchers at the University of California Santa Barbara hypothesized that there is a deep-seated perception of science as a moral pursuit […]

Have you ever lied about reading a book?

Even the most erudite and cultured Core students and faculty have at some point in their lives been placed in a sticky situation where lying about having read a book is the easiest way out. A useful post from The Guardian gives us a study of the top ten books that people have pretended to […]

Historical objectivity

Per the question of objectivity vs subjectivity in the reporting of history, relevant to cc203′s lecture on Thucydides’ “History”, check out this satirical piece by the Onion, titled World War II Documentary Suffused With Anti-Nazi Undertones. (courtesy alumna Jenna Dee)

The Major #1: English?

Looming above many college students is the uncertainty of choosing a major. The Core does not have specific instructions on how to make this important decision… However, here we highlight some of the common opinions on the matter. Today’s topic is the English Major: In a thoughtful though rather biased article from The Chronicle Review we […]

Explaining Nietzsche and Existentialism to 5-Year-Olds

Relating to CC202′s study of Friedrich Nietzsche is an excellent and amusing attempt to explain his existentialism to a group of 5-year-olds. Here is the video: For more information, visit bit.ly/108bPAL.