John H. Zammito will analyze recent developments in understanding man's relationship to science and nature. He is the John Antony Weir Professor of History, professor of German and Slavic studies, and chairman of the German department at Rice University, where he teaches European intellectual history.
OCTOBER 18: THE "DEATH OF NATURE" IN THE SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION
Zammito will examine what happened to the Western idea of nature during the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century by analyzing Carolyn Merchant's 1980 book, The Death of Nature. Merchant combined history of science with feminism to produce a scathing indictment of the violence of science, which stripped spiritual integrity from natural objects and thereby rendered nature "dead" and available to humans for use and abuse.
To read an interview with Carolyn Merchant, please click here.
OCTOBER 25: FROM ENLIGHTENMENT VITALISM TO ROMANTIC NATURPHILOSOPHIE
The late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were swept by a powerful current of scientific and philosophical innovation. Zammito will describe the idea that nature was "alive" with forces (electricity, magnetism, heat, chemical bonding, and, above all, organic life). This Romantic philosophy of nature has not generally been taken seriously as science (or philosophy). Zammito will reconsider the validity of this view.
NOVEMBER 1: NATURA NATURANS FOR THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY
Our contemporary world is in the throes of an upheaval in the life sciences, and we are faced with unprecedented challenges to determine what it means to be human and what we should permit ourselves to do to nature and ourselves. Zammito will discuss whether ideas from history and philosophy hold clues for orienting ourselves as humans in our "brave new world" of biotechnology.
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Fall 2018 brochures are out! Please let us know if you did not receive one and we will be happy to send one to you.
Registration is now open. You may register online, by mail, or by phone with a credit card.
The interest list for the fall and spring study tours is also now open. If you are interested in traveling with the Houston Seminar to Natchez in the fall of 2018 or Virginia in the spring of 2019, please call the registrar at 713.666.9000 to place your name on a list. Please see Terms and Conditions for "travel list" policy.
Please note a date in the Mid-term Elections course has changed from that published in the brochure. The course will meet the first two Mondays, October 29 and November 5 as planned, but will meet Tuesday, November 13 instead of Monday, November 12.
Also note Art Underground: Carlos Cruz-Diez at the Cistern is FULLY SUBSCRIBED. Please contact the registrar if you would like to be wait listed for this course.
Have a great summer. We look forward to seeing you this fall!
For additional information about any of our courses, to register offline, or to add your name to our mailing and/or email lists, please contact our adminstrator at registrar.houstonseminar.org or phone 713.666.9000.