ETHICS 140FS: On Suffering: How Science and Stories Shape Us
Instructor: Raymond Barfield
This is a course about how a genuine encounter with the stories told by people, or groups of people, can bolster, undermine, and reorient our otherwise abstract philosophical, political, and scientific accounts of various forms of suffering – the suffering of individuals, marginalized groups, and the environment. By paying close attention to works of written and oral storytelling (including news articles, research reports, case histories, and speeches at rallies), this course seeks to engage the various arguments for, and critiques of, appealing to stories in the face of suffering, and to start articulating the theological and ethical implications of the idea of ‘being an engaged witness in the world’. We will listen to historical and contemporary voices that have shaped our views of the world, explore the characteristics of pseudoscientific movements that make us squirm, and delve deeper into the apparent and real differences between scientific, experiential, and philosophical reasoning. Part of Focus: Science and Religion in Public Life. Open only to first-year students in the Focus Program; apply by May 25, 2018.