ARTS 701: Philosophical Foundations of the Humanities


This course addresses the kinds of questions raised in the humanities, the characteristic methodologies used to pursue answers, and the range of criteria applied in their assessment. The hermeneutic focus upon interpretation and understanding in the humanities will be contrasted with the objectivity and neutrality of hypothesis-testing in the social and natural sciences. Students will reflect upon the nature of human experience as the focus of different kinds of qualitative inquiry. Other areas to be covered include oral and written knowledge traditions, post-colonial African critical social theories, historiography, and relativist versus universalist modes of assessing human values.