October 28, 2013 at 10:24 am

Knowing the Future: A Focus of Human Attention for Several Thousand Years

By Dr. Daniel Phillips

College of Arts & Sciences faculty are tackling the challenges of the 21st century by building interdisciplinary and team-taught courses around a new set of curricular themes.

The Knowing the Future theme seeks to acquaint students with different ways in which we think about the future. The classes we want to include in the theme apply a broad range of methodologies to that task. Students will be encouraged to interrogate the construction of knowledge and its projection into the future as presented in those classes, and thereby learn the limitations that inhere within various modes of prediction. Epistemology itself is thus a key emphasis within the theme.

The first-year seminar that introduces students to the theme is entitled “Knowing What We Know” and addresses a number of basic issues associated with knowledge, uncertainty and prediction. The class will also examine how these issues arise in contemporary policy issues, societal debates, and state-of-the-art research.

This theme is still very much under development, and we welcome the involvement of other colleagues as we seek to design a theme that will be attractive to students, while also providing them with a broad education in this area–an area which, in one guise or another, has been a focus of human attention for several thousand years.

Faculty Involved So Far

Dr. David Drabold (Physics & Astronomy)

Dr. Todd Eisworth (Mathematics)

Dr. Ryan Fogt (Geography)

Dr. Kenneth Hicks (Physics & Astronomy)

Dr. James Lein (Geography)

Dr. Glenn Matlack (Environmental and Plant Biology)

Dr. Jeremy Morris (Philosophy)

Dr. Greg Nadon (Geological Sciences)

Daniel Phillips (Physics & Astronomy)

Dr. Beth Quitslund (English)

Dr. David Rosenthal (Environmental and Plant Biology)

Dr. Kevin Uhalde (History)

Dr. Julie White (Women’s and Gender Studies, Political Science)

Ohio University faculty are invited to attend the first annual “Themes Fest” on Nov. 5 from 2-4 p.m., in the Nelson Commons Reception Area.

Themes Fest provides an update on the curricular themes initiative launched in the College of Arts & Sciences last spring.  [See A&S Faculty Bring Curricular Themes to Life.]

For more information on this theme, contact: Daniel Phillips, (740-593-1698), or Kevin Uhalde, (740-593-0220).





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