The Humanities course focuses on fundamental questions individuals ask of themselves as they proceed through life. Why are we the way we are? Do we have free will or are we prisoners of our past experience or our biological inheritance? What motivates societies to change? Why do societal changes so often divide people into opposing camps? Why do so many people find contemporary life at home, at work, and in the community unfulfilling? What constitutes good government? How should injustice be fought? Can nations successfully deal with global problems? What is science and how does it differ from other kinds of inquiry? Can scientists provide solutions to the problems we face? What is art and does it offer answers of its own? What is its relationship to beauty, to knowledge, and to ethics? Is objectivity about art (or anything) possible? These questions are organized into units that begin with issues concerning the nature of the individual and then extend outward to various social, cultural and physical contexts.
The issues explored in this course are too complex to have any one right answer. Rather, individuals must search for answers that make sense of their experiences via various theoretical perspectives. The Humanities course supports this endeavour through study of different thinkers presented in the readings and exploration of different points of view explored in class discussions.