Courses

From the Death of Nature to the Science of Life, From the Seventeenth Century to the Twenty First

Three Tuesdays, October 18, 25, and November 1 12:30 - 2:00 p.m. | Christ the King Lutheran Church, 2353 Rice Boulevard at Greenbriar Adult Forum Room, downstairs


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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Welcome to Spring 2018! 
 

Going Baroque!
Thursday, January 18, 7:30–9:00 p.m. | Christ the King Lutheran Church, 2353 Rice Boulevard at Greenbriar. Parking information distributed to subscribers.

 

An Intimate Concert of Modern and Contemporary Music of Mexico
Tuesday, January 23, 6:30-8:00 P.M.
Private home. Address to subscribers.
 

Comida en la Cuidad
Tuesday, February 6, noon | Caracol Restaurant, 2200 Post Oak Boulevard, 77056
PLEASE NOTE: COMIDA EN LA CUIDAD IS FULLY SUBSCRIBED.

 

Modern Architecture in Mexico City
Tuesday, February 20, 12:00-1:30 P.M. | Moody Center for the Arts, Rice University

 

Thomas Jefferson: The Essential Democrat
Three Wednesdays, February 21, 28 and March 7, 6:30-8:00 P.M. | Covenant Church, 4949 Caroline, 77004

 

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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.