Syllabus

Faith and Reasons.

Faith & Reasons brings together faculty, scholars, and students from various academic interests who are striving to make better sense of the world by inquiring deeper beyond the limits of what is definitively known within the humanities and sciences. The aim of this course is to revisit some key principles that remain foundational to the pursuit of truth and help students solidify a more coherent perspective of the world. This course will address questions concerning the preconditions for knowing, ontology, the existence of humans, the world, and God. Students and speakers are encouraged to engage in meaningful and serious conversations about what are commonly “un-answerable” or “controversial” perspectives. Ultimately, this course offers a safe space to examine, evaluate, and solidify a worldview based on reasons that inform beliefs, what to trust, and what to have faith in.

 

Thursday 6-8pm | Barrows 60

 

Course Overview & Introduction:
Rationality is a defining property of humanity, and from it comes the desire to achieve an “ultimate truth,” a grasp of what reality really is. There is not a person alive who does not innately have this desire, but its operation is sometimes obscured. Most crucial interventions in the hi have addressed the structure of reality (“metaphysics”), for the simple reason that getting reality right is fundamental to getting everything else right. Yet most individuals leave these questions unanswered, or accept answers they have not fully examined. This course aims to revisit some of those big questions, and seek a reasoned account by allowing students to navigate the worldviews of others and of themselves.

Learning Objectives:
The purpose of this course is to help students examine, inquire about, and challenge variances in the history of ideas and develop/solidify a reasoned worldview of their own.  Students will learn the basics of sound argumentation and will be able to engage in meaningful and intellectual dialogues with the symposium’s content.  

A Note About Academic Discourse:
In order to see through a matter, it does not help to end with “agree to disagree” conversations.

This course aims to NOT be political, to NOT accredit nor espouse certain views / perspectives that may be brought up. We urge students to check / politely remind facilitators to not espouse or subsume to politicize a certain belief.

 

Course Methodology:
Class Format: Discussion Symposium
This class is structured with questions and concepts that lead to the construction of a worldview.  Nearly every week, at least one guest speaker (mostly faculty members) will address the question/topic of the week(s).  Talks/presentations are both evidence-based and formatted in a conversation-sparking manner in order to be as engaging and thought-provoking as possible. The class meant to raise questions in belief systems, to raise objections about content materials, and explore the formation of trust, explore human nature, and grasp an understanding of an un-schematized reality..

Class Presentation Methods:

  1. ~20min TED talk w/Q&A following.

The “TED talk” presentation method allows speakers to structure their lecture in a compelling and brief way; focusing on answering/addressing questions from the audience and also be formatted in many different ways (a story,  a research discovery, a moving speech, etc).

 

  1. ~70 minute lecture-conversation

Lecture-conversations structured similar to typical class lectures but one that engages students in a conversations by gauging them to reason and question the materials being presented, thus allowing them to actively be a part of it.

Ie.  Michael Sandel’s Justice: What’s the right thing to do? Harvard Lectures series

 

Units Policy:

The course alone is 2-units, but students are HIGHLY ENCOURAGED to add an extra unit (making the course 3 units) by taking a discussion section offered from 7-8:30pm Monday – Wednesdays.

 

Grading:

Attendance: 70%

Final Paper: 30%

 

Final Paper:

At the end of the term, students will write a final paper assessing their worldview, while confronting the popular objections they might find against such perspective.  Students are expected to talk about why they trust in something and what sorts of reasons help shape their current beliefs.

 

Readings & Resources:

Readings are listed to complement lecture materials. They do not replace class discussions or lecture talks.

 

Email Listing:

Brooke – brookemasr@gmail.com

Abigail –  abifaith7@gmail.com

Ryan – rken2794@berkeley.edu

Diana*/ dlutfi@berkeley.edu  *non-admin / speaker / email to meet


Misc:

Know a UCB Faculty or a Speaker that would be PERFECT for the course? Submit a Speaker Recommendation form here: http://www.faithandreasons.com/wp/speaker-recommendation-form/